Thursday, August 17, 2017

Building a Superhero Wardrobe with Mother Goose Time

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In the first week of fun with Mother Goose Time's Superhero theme we created our Superhero wardrobe.  Starting with a superhero symbol and then the cape of course.  My oldest was gone on cape day so we had one extra set of supplies and asked our little neighbor if she wanted to come over.  Her and Adam are such a good pair.  They play so well together.  I helped cut out the cape shape and they decorated with stickers and markers.
The cuteness is a bit overwhelming when these two are together.
After making our capes we played a game called Cape Trick.

I first set it up with just five items but then I made it more challenging for Lucy and Peter who are six years old.
I had them look away and then I took one item and hid it under a fabric cape we have in our dress up collection.  Then I would ask, what's under the cape?  They loved this game and we played it many times.
Then we played the Fly and Rescue game which we adapted a bit to make it easier for Adam and changed it to play with just one child.  It was intended for a group of children to sit in a circle and "fly" to the center to grab a letter tile, then roll the pocket cube and check to see if the tile they rescued matched anything on the cube.

Adam just simply looked at the cube, found a letter and looked at the letter tiles on his board to see if he could find a match.  Then he placed the matching tile on the cube.  Yes, I could have rounded up siblings to play this with him and it would have been a lot of fun.  But they were all super busy doing their own thing and Adam loves investigating things like this.  So you can totally adapt these games and activities to fit their personalities too.
Next up it was time to make our Superhero Mask.  I tell you what, these Make & Play crafts make AMAZING photography props.
I will cherish these photos forever.

Now that we had a cape and mask I knew that trying to jump off of something to fly was not far behind.  Adam has already broken his foot trying to fly, so I decided to face this potential problem head on and provided a small step stool for superhero jumping.  Not the best photo, there is a lot of blur, but I think you get the idea.  And of course he is wearing no pants.  Do three year olds where pants?
The last piece of the wardrobe was the Superhero Belt.  He used A LOT of glue for his jewels.  So he had to wait a long time to put it on.  Mother Goose Time thinks of everything and they gave us a set of Velcro tabs for each belt.  That way it can come on and off.  With the wardrobe complete I had to take pictures.  I had no choice.

It was the end of the day and when he stood on the patio his shadow cast perfectly towards me so I had him stand in a "superhero" pose, although now that I look at him it looks a bit more like Peter Pan.

Our old fence has lead to some amazing pictures over the years.  Unfortunately it's about to fall over in many places so we will have to to work on putting something new in.  But I am going to make my husband try to save a panel or two of the fence that I can use as a photography backdrop.
He gave me all sorts of goofy poses.

This last one is my absolute favorite and it was a perfect format for a quote to be placed on the photo.  This is a wonderful quote from Dana at Care.Craft.Cook.
And of course the fists are out and he is ready for take off.
He learned, he played, he crafted and I photographed. :)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mother Goose Time to the Rescue!! - Preschool Fun For the Summer

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August is a superhero theme with Mother Goose Time.  Who doesn't love superheros?  But as always, there is not only a ton of fun but a ton of learning and amazing opportunities to spend valuable time with your children.  If you have little ones at home, even if it's just for the summer months, I can not recommend enough that you purchase one of the summer time boxes from MGT.  They are typically review boxes that cover all the letters, numbers and shapes.

My boys have never been ones to sit down in my lap and read a book.  We never have been able to spend time like that together.   But you will read article after article about how valuable reading with your child is to their later success in school and life in general.  I felt like we were failing our boys, yet trying to get them to curl up for a story was torture.  For us, Mother Goose Time is how we spent that quality time together.  It's how we spent time talking, introducing new vocabulary, spending face to face quality time and learning.

I don't get money for saying this, there is no commission.  I do get our curriculum for free in exchange for sharing our stories, but I would still tell everyone I know, even if I paid for it out of pocket.  I am just passionate about the difference it has made in my family and I want that for others.

So with out further ado, here is what we have done so far with the superhero theme, or at least what I have photographed.  This was a combination of Day 1, Superhero Symbol and Day 2, Glasses.

This lesson was called Super Vision and I remember it distinctly from three years ago.  It was like a magic trick to them then and again this year.  First we each had some red cellophane which we explored looking through.

Then we made these paddles.  I had to help Adam out quite a bit, it was hard to cut cellophane, but he helped me glue it in and tear the tape.  I didn't give them the cards with the pictures until all of them had the color paddles ready.  I wanted them to all be surprised at the same time.  They were in total shock when an image appeared.
 Lucy and Peter decided to make their own drawings with red scribbles over the top.

It didn't work quite as well, but I loved that this project got them started and launched them into creativity.  It also made them do some serious problem solving when it didn't work as they had hoped.  Maybe it was because the birds weren't blue, they were more purple.  So he tried again.
In this months box we got magnet wands for each child!!!  This was an activity from Day 1 that I just hadn't gotten to.  I cut out the shapes, added paper clips and gave Adam a magnet wand to go fishing.
He would pick up a shape and place it on the shield. Which revealed a secret message when all shapes were in place.  But it was hard, really hard to get them all lined up.
We also experimented with how strong the magnet was and found out how many shapes it could hold at once.  Turns out it can hold them all!
Peter continued to stay very focused and made a pretty cool drawing.
He pointed out that when he held the color paddle over the red sun the center part disappeared and only the outside rays could be seen.
At this point they were ready to move on.  I set up the new theme poster on the wall under our palm tree from the Alphabet Island theme and waited for a good opportunity to explore it with Adam or whoever may be interested.
What's great is that I took no time to prepare and I didn't have it all planned out and scheduled to a T.  We were there at the table, eating lunch and cooling off.  I asked if they wanted to learn about superhero vision and make a color paddle and everyone cheered.  I cut open the bag, popped out the cut outs, handed out the supplies and we were having fun creating in a matter of minutes, if that.

What we didn't get to I keep in the back of my mind for another spontaneous and fun moment or I just open another bag and we continue on with something new.  So easy!

Friday, July 28, 2017

I Can Build Lowercase Letters!! by Fundanoodle

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Heidi, a very kind Education Ambassador with Fundanoodle sent me a set of I Can Build Lowercase Letters.  These things are AWESOME!  What are they?  They are magnets that are shaped like the straight lines and curves you will find in lowercase letters.

These things can be used in so many ways, but I do believe, they will be a perfect fit for Adam who will be 3 and a half as we enter the new school year.  Adam has a mean pencil grip and is just starting to follow lines in order to trace letters, but what he can also do really well, is stick magnets to a board.  This magnet set will allow Adam to explore letter formation in a fun new way.

There is a Color Coded Alphabet Key that comes with the set and it tells you which colors you will need to make each letter.  Like 4 light pink magnets to make a w.
First, let me show you how we spent some time playing with them today.  We played with our magnets on this Fisher Price magnet writing board.  I am not sure of their official name.  I showed him how the magnets left a mark on the board and he quickly took a magnet and filled the whole screen in black by sliding it back and forth.

As he was messing around with the fun of the magnet I started building letters off to the side so he could get another idea of what they could do.  Looking at the Color Coded Alphabet Key I saw that to build m I would need one pink and two purples.  I grabbed the magnets and then set to work trying to figure out how to make an m out of my supplies.  It's a bit like a puzzle and fun for even an adult to see these weird shapes come together to make a letter.
 Here I made i and d.
I really like that the cross line in f is made with one solid line even though it doesn't lay flat on the surface.  When you draw this line it should be one long line, not segmented.  Unfortunately, my older boys sometime draw an f or a t by drawing the cross line as two lines instead of one fluid one.  So to me, these details are important.
 After he had a while to just explore the materials, I showed him how if you lay the magnet down carefully and then pick it straight up, it will leave it's mark on the board.  He thought the i looked like a person and so he started to create families on his board.
I saw the brown half circle piece and wondered how it would be used so I searched out the letter or letters it would be used in.  Turns out it's only used in one letter and that's the letter e.
Z was fun and colorful.  This time I overlapped the magnets instead of keeping them separate like I did for the W and I think it looks a lot better.
 Adam knows his shapes pretty well and he like making a circle with the dot used for the i and j.
And I am sure you have heard this a lot, but this kind of work with the hands is a great fine motor building activity and that is a huge and important step to success in writing.
 He discovered how to make another circle with two of the curved magnets.
This was a fun introduction to these new learning tools and a great way for him to get excited about them.  But I have a great plan on how to use them for some real serious learning fun.
Each month with Mother Goose Time we learn 3 new letters.  My plan is to set up a tray with just the magnets needed to make one of those letters at a time.  Set before him in this way, it won't be too overwhelming.  I just ordered a magnet board that will stand up on the table in front of Adam and I will place the magnets on the board to form the letter.  He can then see how it is supposed to look and recreate it.  Once the letter is formed he can trace the letter with his finger.  We can get out the corresponding Muscle Mover Card too and trace those and do the recommended movement.  I can lay the magnet board down and he cold roll out play-doh to lay on the letter.  The possibilities are endless.

I can't wait for Adam to have more tools as he learns his letters and letter formation.  It's a much more global way to learn (all parts of his brain and body involved in learning) and is far superior to paper and pencil alone.