Tag Archives: Homeschooling Toddlers

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April Showers Crafts and Games!

It’s that time of year when we stand on the brink of sunshine and hours of outside play. So close we can almost smell it… yet it’s not quite here.

We are having one of those classic April weeks in Minnesota, where it’s too cold to play outside and every day looms of rain, so we decided to make the most of it! Today we learned all about the seasons, rain, and why there are April showers. ☺ I came up with a list of activities that would both demonstrate how rain works, and give the kids a hands on experience, plus a craft project o remember it by. It just happened that I was also able to incorporate appropriate books throughout the day to go with each activity.


The Seasons:

IMG_4136First, I chose 1 item to represent each season: a wooden snowflake, a red leaf, a small wooden flower, and a yellow circle for the sun. I placed the items in a bag and had each child reach in (without looking) to pull one out. We discussed each one and what it represented. They really enjoyed the suspense of this activity!

Then we read “When?” by Leo Lionni and “All Around Us” by Eric Carle. These were perfect! They both cover the seasons and things that happen in them. We talked about how we are in the season of spring and specifically, the month of April. In April it rains a lot so flowers can grow etc.

April and Rain:

IMG_4139Next, we moved to the dining room table where I placed a large mason jar filled 1/3 of the way with boiling water. I placed a plate on top and let it sit for a few minutes while we discussed how and why rain works. You can read more about it HERE. Next, I set 8-10 ice cubes on the plate. Within a few seconds, we could see a gentle mist coming down the jar from the bottom of the plate which looked like a light rain. They loved it!

Making their own rain clouds:

IMG_4142I filled a large clear container half full with water and added only 2 drops of blue food coloring. I wanted them to see the blue, but I didn’t want it to stain anything. ☺ I gave them each a container with cotton balls, a piece of paper, and tongs. If you don’t have enough tongs, we also used 2 matching serving forks and 2 matching serving slotted spoons. These may have even been easier. :-D I would also cover your workspace with a towel—everything got quite wet.

I explained that their cotton balls were clouds and they needed to fill them with water to become rain clouds. They dropped the cotton balls into the blue water, let them get wet and then set them on the paper to make designs. They LOVED this!! Before long, the cotton balls were back and forth and everywhere else. They wrung them out with their hands and started the process again. Everybody was wet, but they did this for about half an hour. Very fun activity that serves as a great visual for rain!

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I gave each child a piece of cardstock with a simple cloud drawn in the top portion. I had them fill it with Elmer’s glue and then cover it with cotton balls. Next we discussed how rain comes out of rain clouds, so they made their rain with the glue. I then sprinkled blue glitter on their rain, poured off the excess, and Voila! Beautiful rain coming down from their clouds. They were pretty giddy about all that glitter—especially since I was doing this with 4 little girls. ☺

IMG_4147Listening Walk:

It just happened that it wasn’t raining this afternoon, so we decided to get outside for a few minutes—it was still cold! :-D I wanted the walk to go with our spring theme though, so we read, “The Listening Walk” by Paul Showers, then we got bundled up and headed out for our own listening walk. This was a lot of fun. All of the kids noticed things they had never noticed before. We discovered a lot of unique and new sounds as well finding some new life on trees and in plants. They were surprised to see and hear so many of the signs of spring we had been learning about.

FullSizeRenderOther books we read to go with the theme:

“Dora’s Serach for the Seasons” by Samantha Berger

“A Bunny for all Seasons” by Janet Schulman

“My Spring Robin” by Anne Rockwell

“Wee Little Lamb” by Lauren Thompson

Coloring Pages:

We finished the day with a couple of coloring pages that coordinated with the theme. I just got them off Google images and turned them into coloring sheets.

Soon the luster of spring will be here and we will miss these cold rainy days to do projects inside our home. I love the opportunities to take advantage of these less than desirable times! ☺

Happy Spring!

-Lydia

 

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Sun Catchers Craft

​As we gear up for spring, (and that extra hour of sunshine!) the kids and I did this great craft project I have to share with you! It’s cheap, easy, and makes a great gift to brighten someone’s day. We made sun catchers.

What you need:

• Contact paper
• Tissue Paper
• Ribbon
• Hole Punch
• Scissors
• Small suction cup with hook

​Simply trace a circle onto contact paper with a little hump on the top. It will look similar to a Christmas ornament.

​Cut out 2 of them for each sun catcher.

​Cut out several small squares of multi colored tissue paper.

​Peel the backing off the contact paper. This takes a bit of patience…

​Have the kids place their tissue paper squares all over the sticky side of the contact paper. My 13 month old did this no problem and loved it!

​When it’s full, place the matching contact paper circle on top. Line it up best you can, but it doesn’t have to be perfect at all.

​Trim around the edges. This will catch the tissue paper hanging off the edges and is also an easy way to even out the circles.

​Punch a hole in the center of the hump part at the top.

​String a short thin ribbon through the hole and tie it in a loop.

​Hang on a window with a suction cup that has a hook. They sell 10-12 packs at Dollar Tree.

​These make great gifts to brighten someone’s day!

​Enjoy the sunshine!!
- Lydia

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Valentines Day: Who God Loves Craft

The kids and I have been learning about God’s love this week as we prepare for Valentine’s day. It’s important to me that whenever we learn about Valentine’s day or love that we start with God’s love. We have covered different aspects of God’s love, but today I wanted them to have an interactive picture of WHO God loves so they would understand that God’s love is limitless and applicable to those they know and even those they don’t know.

What you need:

  • White paper
  • Colored paper in a few different colors if you want
  • Ribbon
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Scissors

What to do:

I cut cloud shapes out of the white paper to represent God. We talked about how He is in heaven beyond the clouds. The clouds were about ¼ a sheet of paper in size. I wrote the first portion of I John 4:10 on them to demonstrate how God loved us before we even loved Him. There are many verses that would work for this though! You could even just do I John 4:8 which says, “God is Love.” I had the kids say the verse with me as I wrote it on the paper. This kept them involved and helped them begin to memorize it. They each also chose their own color of marker. If they are older, they can write it themselves.

Next I laid out my multicolored hearts which I had cut into 2 sizes. They each picked several. I had them tell me different people they knew. They loved this and were excited to tell me everyone! This took a while. ☺ We wrote each name on a different heart.

Next I gave them each 3-4 pieces of ribbon to tape onto the back of their cloud.

Then we attached each heart to the ribbon with tape. The idea is God’s love reaching down to each person.

Lastly, we reviewed how God loves each person with an everlasting, unchanging, and overflowing love. And He loves them with the same kind of love, no matter what.

The kids really got the point of this craft and they were excited to have a visual of some of the people God loves.

In this is love, not that we have loved God

but that he loved us

and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

I John 4:10

 

-Lydia

 

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Our Fun Timeline! (K-4 or K-5)

The kids and I are doing American History this semester!

And one of the fun things we’ve been working on is an easy hand-on timeline.

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- Print off some pictures of people we’ve been learning about. (The web is filled with free coloring sheets. I just google their names.)

- Color Them

- Cover them with packing tape (to laminate – but way cheaper)

- Cut out the peopleimage

(- The kids get to play with theirs [Reinforcing what we've learned])

-I put to mine on the timeline

That’s it! It’s easy and fun to do each week – and has added a lot to our History!image

Teaching Children Flexibility

Some kids are more OCD then others.

My children are fairly flexible, but in a few areas…not so much!

It drives them CRAZY if they don’t get to sing every.single.word of any given song.

Here is how we talked about the important lesson of flexibility.

Object Lesson: Noodles (Spaghetti or Lasagna), water, pot.

(I’d suggest starting to heat water ahead of time or this object lesson will take awhile!)

Hold up the uncooked noodle.

Say, “Sometimes we don’t like things that we have to do. We get angry and break up because we are upset!!”

(BREAK Noodle)

Bring kids into kitchen. They can sit on a chair or stool a safe distance from the stove.

“But God allows us to have things happen each day until we can learn to be flexible. He lovingly allows things we don’t like – like having to pick up our toys or share. These things teach us flexibility.”

“Sometimes these things are uncomfortable  – like punishment or shots.”

(Put noodle into boiling water.) “This noodle is in an uncomfortable situation, but it will soon be flexible. It will be a better, more useful because of the hot water.”

DISCUSS: Let kids come up with situations where they can be flexible while the noodle cooks.

ACTIVITY: At the end we practiced singing a song, and they could not start singing until I pointed to them. I tried to make it into a game though it was still an effort on their part, they tried to be flexible and not sing until pointed at.

So there is simple lesson on flexibility. I couldn’t think of a good Bible verse though I wish I had. What ideas can you think of?

-Verity

Easy, Fun, and Valuable Preschool ‘Subject’

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Our favorite and easiest preschool subject is something we do right at the beginning of school every day.

-It is the kids’ favorite ‘subject.’ They are always eager and excited to start school because they love this so much.

- It opens many good Bible teaching examples that they are ready for.

- It is easy to do every day.

- It has helped the kids to join in the worship at church.

- It only takes a couple minutes of prep each month.

So what is it?


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For the last year and a half, we start school with a hymn each morning.

I pick a hymn we sing at church, and we sing one a month with school – learning a new verse each week. As we go through the month, I highlight what we have learned so far. We don’t always learn all the verses, but the word pictures and teaching opportunities are enthusiastically received by my little pupils.

I’ve also found it helps me, as a mom with just little ones to focus on bigger, eternal things if I put a copy on the fridge (my favorite spot ever!) to sing throughout the day when school has ended.

They don’t normally sing with me during the day, but they smile when I’m singing a song they know.

And they LOVE to sing a hymn they know with the congregation at church!!

(It is also one of the best feelings in the world to be at church and have your 3 and 4 year olds join in the worship!!)

-Verity

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I realize the fall season is nearly behind us, but I just HAVE to share this fun and easy idea. This would be so great to have your kids work on while you prepare for the Thanksgiving dinner.

All you do is draw a basic tree trunk on paper.

 

Apply tape to look like branches. I used masking tape folded in half, but you could use anything—2 sided Scotch tape might be fun.

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Give the kids things to stick on the branches. I used small red pom poms for apples (which my kids chose not to use) and some foam leaves I bought at Dollar Tree. You could also use scraps of paper, tissue paper, or foam, real leaves, etc. Anything that could go on a tree!
Then just walk away and let them have fun! :-)

-Lydia

Having a School Spot

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Last year the kids and I did our formal preschool between the couch and dining room table.It went fairly well, but I was always a little frustrated because to them, the couch is a hang-out and relax spot and school was sometimes hard to focus on in their comfy zone.

I hadn’t actually realized this until I read a fascinating article about how our bodies respond accordingly to different locations if you use those locations for the same activity every time.

Example:

If you always work and focus at your desk, your body will respond by being more alert when you sit down there.

Similarly, if you have a favorite chair where you always relax, your body and mind will also relax when you sit there.

I know that kids have to obey and sit still, but I was completely intrigued by the idea of making it EASIER on them (okay…and me!) by creating a spot that they could more automatically focus.

I began to think about how to create a school zone in our small home. I wanted it away from their normal hang-out and play areas.
PictureWe do have a spare room where my husband’s desk and my desk is located, and it gets great morning light.

Also, I found my garage sale find of the decade last week – a PRESCHOOL SIZED ROLL TOP DESK!

I moved the desk into the spare room and we set up school! :-)

I was surprised at the difference in the kids natural responses during school time. 

By having a ‘school zone,’ I’ve been able to set a different precedent for our ‘classroom.’

We sit straight in the class room (like a soldier and like a pretty princess), we practice our three classroom rules (ahem…we are learning to practice our three classroom rules), and we try to stay focused during the time we are in there.

During book time, the kids take turns at their little desk and my husband’s desk.

So far, it’s been a great change that has helped us immensely in the start into a new school year!

What environmental changes help your children with their school?

-Verity


Toddler Activities with Colors

My two year old son and I have been doing a concentrated study on colors over the last few weeks. Like most kids, he knew basic colors, but would sometimes get them confused. Before we moved on to numbers and letters I wanted to be sure he truly had his colors down. After weeks of working through a Sesame Street color “textbook,” I decided it was time to get a little more hands on. Below, I will share with you what we did to review colors. I took a basic concept I found multiple places on Pinterest and elaborated it to fit our situation.

First, I cleared the dining room furniture off to the side to make space. Then, I used masking tape to attach 8 colors of construction paper to the floor. I highly recommend masking for any project that requires taping in the house. It sticks well, is easy to peel up, and never leaves residue. I could have used more paper colors than I did, but that was what was in the package. J I learned right away, that it IS important to tape all 4 sides of each sheet. You’ll notice a big taped rip in the blue sheet in future pictures. :-)

Activity #1

As a warm up, I had the kids line up in the living room and race to each color as I called it out and said “Go!” This was a great overview for the older kids and gave the little ones a fighting chance to learn the colors.


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Activity #2

Once I felt confident that everyone had a good concept of the colors, I did something a little more practical. When I would call out a color and say, “Go!” they had to find as many toys throughout the living room in that color, take them over, and put them on the corresponding paper. This was probably everyone’s favorite and even the 18 month old excelled at this activity.

Activity #3

Next we went back to independent review. I had them all line up in the living room facing me. I handed the first child a Pom Pom and told them the color, they would then run over, put the Pom Pom on its corresponding paper and run back to the end of the line. We did this about 8 times or so.


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Activity #4

We repeated the first activity. This was great! The kids were so excited and much more confident this time around.

Activity #5

At this point, I started to lose the two youngest kiddos, which is to be expected.  I used the opportunity to take the game into a deeper, more spiritual focus. The two oldest and I went over to the colors and sang the song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and when we got to each child we stood on their color. We inserted the color brown, so the song went, “red and yellow, brown, black and white.” We talked about what those children actually looked like, why there were different colored people and so on.

Activity #6

I still had the oldest two kids’ enraptured attention, so I went to each color and had them tell me things God had created that were that color. We talked about what a great God we have that He would make all of those wonderful things, but that we were His most special creation and how much He loves us.

In the end, this proved to be a great color review for toddlers and preschoolers. I’m sure there’s much more you could do with the colored paper, and I hope to do this again!

-Lydia