Preschool Theme: Penguins

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

Shape: Oval

Mailbox Magic

Yesterday, I came home from a play date with my friend Stephanie, to a mailbox full of happiness!

First of all, I got my first copy of Parents Magazine. Who doesn’t love magazines, especially when you get a year’s subscription for $3? And I got a disc from Netflix to replace a broken DVD, which I’d been waiting on for almost a week.
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But the best thing of all was from The Curious Quilter!!!

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A tiny, wonderful package of tiny, wonderful 2 inch squares for my postage stamp quilt!

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I sat down right at the door and started playing with my new present 🙂 There were so many really awesome clippings, but I wanted to show off a few of my favorites!

Ok, geekery abounds in this house, so this could not have been a more perfect addition to my quilt 🙂

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I just loved this little polar bear!

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And I love gnomes!!! When we owned our own house, I wanted a garden gnome so much! But grumpy Alex told me no. I’ll wear him down at the next place 😉 Or who knows, gnomes have a way of just wandering in and making themselves at home…

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This square is just the sweetest!

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I really liked this one, especially since Mary calls these 2 inch treasures.

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How awesome is this set?? I had wanted to sneak some skulls into my quilt, but I didn’t think I wanted so many as to go buy a length of fabric. Two is the perfect amount 🙂 And I LOVE that star fabric.

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So after grouping those 4 together, I started thinking about other groupings. There were lots of little animals, which made me want to do a Critter Quilt for Dex. I LOVED the bee square, but felt really guilty about wanting to keep it because I know Dexter LOVES bees too. (We LOVE a lot in this house lol. We’re not very neutral people!)  But maybe I’ll trade him the polar bear for the bees…

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And then I have to decide if animal print is a fun girly addition to my quilt, or if it ultimately belongs in the Critter Quilt.

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And then I came across this “square”… made up of 2 tiny triangles. I’m saving that one. Because I’ve got a lot of scraps that are too small to make 2 inch squares, and I feel a Tiny Triangle Quilt may be in my future…

Progress Report: Pink/Blue Owl Quilt

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I’m both excited and frustrated… I’m extremely happy because I completed all 12 of my squares!!! But I ran across lots of problems. Namely that I apparently cut my sashing strips too short, boo, and I can’t find my scrap material to add to the strips, extra boo. And by the end, I was having a lot of sewing trouble and I’m going to have to rip some seams. A break was called for.

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I am LOVING the way it’s looking with the sashing. I can’t wait til I work out the kinks. I added a little plain chocolate brown to the length , hopefully it won’t be too distracting. I’ll have to do this on every wide strip and at the end of all the border pieces.

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It’s really coming together! The tree on the back will be the next challenge 🙂

Mapping Out My Quilting Plan

It occurred to me last night that I have 5 months to finish my 3 Christmas quilts. I can be a bit of a procrastinator. 5 months sounds like forever, right??

But when I divide that by 3 quilts, that’s roughly 1.67 months per quilt! Um… time to panic!

So, I have to make myself start putting some quality time into those quilts. Not only have I taken on a gargantuan task, but I also chose to venture into unknown and potentially complicated pattern territory.

It’s so hard for me to focus on just one project. I get bored, or I get super excited about something else! But I have to harness my energy, because I don’t want to give my sisters IOU’s for Christmas. That would be jerky.

So, here’s the plan:

Quilt #1- Deborah’s Owl Quilt

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The front of the quilt will have 12 pink and blue blocks, shashed with dark brown. At least one block will have an owl. My sister wanted to think about how many owls she wanted 🙂

IMG_5217 The back will have a pink and brown striped fabric, with a strip of pieces from the front along the bottom. Then I’m going to attempt to do a tree in brown, via ohfrannson!. I probably will not do patchwork on this tree, because I really don’t think it’s necessary. And then I’ll have 3 little owls peeking out of holes in the tree.

I have 6 blocks completed. So if I could do 1 block per day I’d be done in a week.

Week 1: Complete blocks.

Week 2: Cut sashing and piece blocks together.

Week 3: Work on the back. (I’m going to call this one week’s worth of work, but I don’t actually know how long this will take.

Week 4: Sandwich quilt and start quilting!

Week 5: Quilt.

Week 6: Bind the edges and clip threads.

Quilt #2- Alisha’s Bird Quilt

I have all the fabric for this quilt, and a general idea, but it’s still mostly in my head. It will consist of some combination of the following fabrics:

IMG_5233 And it will have a design similar to this:IMG_5224 I sketched this out without really paying attention to the quantities of fabric I have on hand. Most likely I will have to play around with color combinations. So, Alisha, don’t get attached to it 🙂 Also, I’m not sure about how to put this together, so I sure hope ohfrannson! has a pattern!!

Week 1: Work on planning. Which color do I have enough of for the background, trees, etc?

Week 2: Cut fabric.

Week 3: Piece back ground.

Week 4: Piece tree 1.

Week 5: Piece tree 2.

Week 6: Piece tree 3.

Week 7: Cut back pieces.

Week 8: Piece back. Appliqué birds on front and back.

Week 9: Sandwich and quilt.

Week 10: Bind the edges and clip threads.

(Uh-oh. This plan is 4 weeks over time-budget.)

Quilt #3- Michelle’s Bird Quilt

Sigh. Now that I’ve mapped out Alisha’s quilt, I know Michelle’s is essentially the same except in different colors. So, it, too, is slated for 4 extra weeks. I can’t let this happen! I just need to remember this is just an estimate and kick it into high gear!

Michelle’s fabrics:IMG_5241 This batch is a little messy because I’m currently using some of the fabrics for another project 🙂

And for some reason, I thought it would be faster to revamp the same picture in Paint. It was *not* faster, but it was fun 🙂final painted bird quilt IMG_5224

Week 1: Work on planning. Which color do I have enough of for the background, trees, etc?

Week 2: Cut fabric.

Week 3: Piece back ground.

Week 4: Piece tree 1.

Week 5: Piece tree 2.

Week 6: Piece tree 3.

Week 7: Cut back pieces.

Week 8: Piece back. Appliqué birds on front and back.

Week 9: Sandwich and quilt.

Week 10: Bind the edges and clip threads.

Wish me luck! And the ability to focus. I’ll need it.