At the beginning of the year, I officially (re)started preschooling Dexter. I have created our curriculum for the year, and I’d love to share some of our activities and themes with you moms out there! I’ll be showing some pictures of things we did and sharing the resources I’ve compiled for that theme.
I was so excited about studying penguins last week, because I found some really cute ideas online. And I figured this would be a topic that Dexter could really get into.
We started the week out by discussing penguins. I found some really informative books for kids at Mckay’s. Dexter loves books and he was able to stay engaged and learn a lot without just having me lecture him about the topic.
I strongly suggest going by a used book store and loading up on books to supplement your preschool curriculum. I know a lot of people love to go to the library, and that’s great too. I spent about $25 on as many books as I could (most of my books were under $1), and I’m really glad I did that because I don’t feel the pressure to get to the library weekly.
I borrowed some plastic penguins from my mom (thanks, Grandma!!!) so we could have imaginative play. Primarily, Dex enjoyed having the penguins slide down cardboard tubes. And we also let the penguins swim in some ice water. So, if you don’t have some play items that go with your theme, you could consider borrowing some like we did! Dexter was actually excited when we sent them back because he understood that they came from Grandma’s house. He even got really into writing (drawing) her a thank-you note to send with them.
We then watched March of the Penguins. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can stream this for free! Take note that there are several death-related scenes in the movie and be prepared to answer those questions! Dexter’s favorite part was when the babies came, and how they hid under their parents’ bellies. We snuggled in bed to watch it, and he kept telling me, “I want to hide in your tummy!” and would snuggle up against me and cover up with blankets.
For movement, we waddled around like penguins. We did this after watching our documentary, when Dex had a really good idea about how penguins move and sound. We also played Mama Penguin/Baby Penguin by having him climb on my feet and waddle him around the room.
Later in the week, we looked for penguin songs on YouTube. I’m sure I’ve suggested this before, but it’s better to prep for this. I’ve made the mistake (a couple of times) of searching *with* Dex, and then stumbling across something soooo inappropriate. So take a some time during your lesson planning to find some cute songs that you may not know.
Here are a few to get you started:
These are just a few we found on the fly. If you don’t like the music/video etc, another suggestion is to learn the songs by yourself and teach them to you child.
The thing I was REALLY excited about was the fun snack for the week!
I made him a little penguin environment. My penguins are SO SLOPPY, as my hands were shaking a little from the anxiety of having someone stand behind you and constantly say, “Is it ready yet?? Is it ready yet??” (Have I told you yet to prepare ahead of time when you can??) The good news is that kids will love them even if they are not perfect. I found this at Gourmet Mom On The Go
. She used toothpicks to hold them together, but since I only made two at a time for one child, I just sort of pasted them together with cream cheese and hope. They are made from large and collosal black olives (I’d never seen a collosal olive, and they weren’t lying. Those things are HUGE!). You split them down the middle, fill them with cream cheese (I used plain), and use a slice of carrot to make the feet and beak! So cute.
Dexter helped me make the blue ocean jello. He just observed until we got to the cold water stage, so he wouldn’t get burned.
I can’t encourage you enough to let your child help you cook as often as you can. Dexter LOVES to help, and he is excited to eat what we make together.
I bought some pretzel goldfish and threw in some marshmallows for snow.
As I said before, he was super antsy to see what I was making him, especially since he knew it involved the jello we made. But I was so happy with his response: when I turned and showed him his surprise he said, “Oh yay!!!! It’s my birthday!!!!” Sweet, sweet, silly boy :).
He literally grabbed his jello and had it down within about 3 seconds. It was amazing to behold. (Also note that he is wearing his penguin pj’s! He gets really excited to dress according to our theme.)
Other food ideas include eating foods that penguins eat. Their diet consists of fish, shrimp, and squid. We had some fish, which he was so excited about, since it’s penguin food and all. I don’t eat shrimp, but now he’s really excited to try it with Daddy someday. And, well… we’re just not doing squid. He can check that out on his own time.
I was really happy because we were able to take a field trip to the local aquarium to see the penguins there! Normally those penguins are shy, but this time they were very playful. Find out if your town has an aquarium or zoo where you can see animals you are studying!
I had originally planned for us to study the letter P, but he just doesn’t seem interested in the alphabet right now. I worked on phonics some by pointing out words that start with P, but that was about it.
For art, we did a penguin coloring sheet together. I’d planned for us to paint craft sticks like penguins and play with them, but we just didn’t have the time. (The craft sticks I’d suggest using are like these snowmen.)
There was so much more I’d hoped to do, but just didn’t have the time for. Here are a few more links and suggestions I collected:
Related Sesame Street videos:
Colors: Black and White
I have a feeling you guys are going to get sick of seeing these squares! Especially since, to the untrained eye, it looks like nothing is happening with them.
While it *is* in fact slow-going… it’s at least going. If you’ll pay special attention to the bag in the upper right corner, you can see it’s well organized while the other bags are in complete disarray. I’ve sewn all those squares into duos and have IRONED THEM. (I never iron anything. Unless I really really really really REALLY have to. And this time I really really really really REALLY had to.)
Which brings me to my point.
I am not at all an expert on fabric. I’m learning a bit at a time, especially as I follow other bloggers. When Mary at The Curious Quilter said there should be no homespuns included in the swap, I literally had to Google it. Now I know what a homespun is (or I at least have a clearer picture), and I went through my swapping fabric and pulled out all the probable homespuns.
But I’d already learned a valuable lesson during my ironing sessions. When I was ironing out my duos, some of my fabrics MELTED. Yes. They just shriveled up into a crunchy mess. So, my assumption is that some of those fabrics were synthetics. I am systematically having to go through my bags of squares and pull out the offenders and test the suspects. I am really excited that I get to personally touch all 3000+ squares at least 20 times each. (Sarcasm.)
So, don’t be an idiot like me. Learn your fabrics. Know what you’re using. And if you’re in doubt, test before you cut, sort, and sew.
So, you fellow swappers out there, I am sorry if you get my fabric!!! I am definitely trying to do this right, and I can assure you that you will not have anything that I *think* is a homespun, and you will not have anything that will melt!
Here’s a sad little shot of some of my swapping squares. I have so many duplicates, it’s not even funny. I am making sure that each set is without duplicates, but I have the potential to create LOTS of sets. 🙂
This lame photo does not express how excited I am about The Curious Quilter’s Postage Stamp Quilt Charm Swap! But you can see that I am digging out my scraps and gearing up to participate!
If you have been tiptoeing around the idea of creating a postage stamp quilt, now is the time. Mary is hosting multiple swaps all throughout 2012. This will give you access to lots of different fabrics without having to go a huntin’ for them. And this is a real blessing, because these quilts have THOUSANDS (well, like 1-5 thousand, depending on your size.) of teeny tiny squares. I’ve been using a lot of duplicates, and that’s making it quite a bit harder on me than if I’d been patient and collected unique squares!
And I’ve discovered through Mary’s swap that I am not even in the craziest group of us crazies! Some of the folks out there are making these quilts out of ONE INCH SQUARES. I know, I’m astonished too!! But I decided to help them out and I’m using my teentiest, most tossable scraps to make them some squares.
So head on over to The Curious Quilter, get a little info, and sign up to join the swap!! You might even get some of that fancy schmancy strawberry fabric* for your project!
*Fancy schmancy strawberry fabric is pictured above, in all its glory.
my Dexter’s Christmas gift was a beautiful play kitchen. So I went crazy making accessories for myself him.
It was so much fun coming up with ideas for mildly 3-dimensional foods. I also found a lot of great inspiration online. I didn’t want to have to put a lot of thought into it or sculpt something magnificent. I just wanted to throw together a lot of fun little pieces to spark some imaginative play.
The hardest things to create were the teeny tiny oven mitts, but I hand-sewed binding for the first time, and I’m excited to take that to the next level on a quilt soon!
Eventually I will compile some links and upload patterns/templates/tutorials (don’t hold your breath, I’m not super great at adding actual patterns…), but for now, I want to showcase my work!