Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reading Our Library- Touch the Art (Julie Appel & Amy Gugliemo)

Touch the Art is such a creative series designed to introduce children to great works of art. These board books are in a "touch and feel" format so children are touching, tracing and tugging famous works of art. Part of each picture is replaced with a tactile experience- hair to brush, a flap to turn, a curtain to lift, etc. An additional benefit is that each book in the series ends with a couple pages giving background information on each work that is included in the pages. It's educational for both parents and children!

I came across these board books while browsing through our library and knew we had to try them out!

Brush Mona Lisa's Hair is meant to introduce children to great art from the Renaissance and Baroque period. This book includes works by Da Vinci, Botticelli, van Eyck, Vemeer and Raphael.The tactile experiences range from brushing Mona Lisa's Hair to touching the pearl earring on Vemeer's famous work "Girl with a Pearl Earring". The text itself isn't the greatest-- but the book provides plenty of opportunities to talk about the paintings themselves.

Make Van Gogh's Bed is another book in the series which is meant to introduce children to works of the 19th century. Little ones will make Van Gogh's bed, touch the tutus of Degas' dancers, and pat the lilies in Monet's garden. I liked this book even better than the first one we reviewed. The text in this particular book seems much more natural and child friendly and I was more familiar with the artists and art works included.

All in all, this seems like a fun series for introducing toddlers and preschoolers to great works of art. Through this series children will learn to recognize some famous paintings as well as some famous artists. There are eight books in the series and I think we will be exploring more of them. Jonathan has really enjoyed these books and even Grace liked patting the pages.

Library Links 

Brush Mona Lisa's Hair
Make Van Gogh's Bed

I'm linking to:

What My Child is Reading @ Mouse Grows Mouse Learns
Feed Me Books Friday @ Little Sprout Books

Friday, April 29, 2011

On My Bookshelf- April 2010

Next week I'll be posting what we've done during our "e" unit. In the meantime, I thought I'd share what I've been reading:

The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity by Sally Clarkson

I've heard excellent things about Sally Clarkson and this is my first book by her. I haven't made it past the first chapter yet, but it's looking very promising. For those who are interested, an online book club is forming which will be reading another book by Sally, The Ministry of Motherhood. You can find more details here.

The Message of Isaiah by Barry Webb

I've been studying Isaiah in my daily quiet times. After I read and observe each passage, this is the commentary I turn to. I have to say, it's wonderful. It has really been helping me to see the big picture- how Isaiah fits in with the historical context as well as the Biblical message as a whole. I've read other books in this commentary series, but this one has definitely been the best so far.

Baby Steps: Exercises for Baby's First Year of Life by Susan Fox

I checked out this book based on a recommendation from Brightly Beaming Baby. It's written by a physical therapist and gives different activities you can do with your child to help them develop both their gross and fine motor skills. So far, it seems to have some good ideas. I'm reading it to find activities to do with Grace. Jonathan was much more interested in moving than she seems to be. I'm not really concerned- and I'm honestly thankful she's not crawling all over the house yet- but I'm still hoping to help her show a little more initiative in moving.

I'm honestly not a big fiction reader. I was trying to read a Karen Kinsbury series but stopped it halfway through. I do enjoy a good mystery story though- any recommendations? What's on your bookshelf?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Color Mixing

This is a very simple activity, but Jonathan really enjoyed it:

We recently read White Rabbit's Color Book in which the white rabbit had fun bathing in different paint colors and seeing which color(s) she ended up. Jonathan loved this book, so I thought it would be fun to mix primary colors.

I pulled out three small glasses and filled them with water. I also pulled out a washcloth to mop up any spills. Then I added food coloring to the three glasses to make them turn red, yellow, and blue.

I gave Jonathan a medicine dropper and he had fun transferring the colored water back and forth. He was amazed when he combined blue and yellow and made green water.

This literally kept him occupied for an hour. I would periodically refresh his water and he just had tons of fun!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reading Our Library- Alan Baker

Alan Baker is a British author/illustrator who has written a series of children's  books called "Little Rabbit Books". Several of these books are written to reinforce early concepts. We checked out quite a few (not all) books from the series and overall they were quite the hit with Jonathan. Here's what we read the past couple weeks:

White Rabbit's Color Book

Jonathan loved this book. He's known his colors for a while now, but he just really enjoyed this simple story about a little white rabbit dipping herself in paint. The rabbit makes different colors from the red, blue, and yellow paint and eventually ends up a totally different color all together. This was a book that Jonathan wanted read again and again. I think we may end up trying to combine paint colors to make our own color mixing experiment.

Black and White Rabbit's ABC

This book attempts to teach the ABCs through a little rabbit's efforts to paint a picture of an apple. This is a clever little book, but Jonathan didn't enjoy it as much as some of the other books. I liked that the book included both uppercase and lowercase letters though.

Brown Rabbit's Shape Book 

In this book, brown rabbit receives a box in the mail. Inside the box is a tube of balloons and rabbit proceeds to make different shapes out of the balloons until he is worn out. Jonathan also really enjoyed this book about shapes. He's recognized shapes for a while, but this book included some new shapes such as "tube" and "pear'shaped". It also included some fun sound effects. This is another book that he requested frequently.

Gray Rabbit's 1,2,3 

Another cute book about a gray rabbit who finds several lumps of clay and makes animals of different shapes from one worm to ten mice. Jonathan really liked this book- I think he was fascinated by the idea of making animals out of play dough.  Jonathan  requested this book frequently as well. I think we may also try to do some play dough sculpting this week!

Little Rabbit's First Word Book 

I checked this book out thinking of Grace, but was pleasantly surprised by its appeal to Jonathan. This is in one sense a typical word book, with rabbits presenting words under different topics. What makes this different is that the book has some games you can play with your child at the back such as matching shapes, colors, etc. Jonathan had fun pointing out different items and even did pick up a few new words.

Little Rabbit's First Time Book 

This is a book that follows rabbits through the day. It has a clock with moveable hands that you can set to the time in the book. Jonathan really liked playing with the clock, and that actually distracted him from the story itself at this point. I think it will be a great book for when we are learning about time!

Overall, we really enjoyed these books and I will probably try to add them into our collection. They would also fit in quite well with an Easter/Spring theme!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

d is for duck

Here's the promised "d is for duck" page. No pictures- but here's a summary of what we did through the week:

Sign Language

We reviewed the sign for duck.


A Cuddle for Little Duck by Claire Freedman

Totally Tots had this book as part of their regular feature "Now I Know My ABCS". It's a large board book with a rhyming story about a little duckling's day.  Overall, I think the book was a better book for Grace than for Jonathan. the story was a little too simple to hold Jonathan's interest. Grace, however, liked turning the large pages and patting the pictures. The story is sweet and soothing- it would be a perfect bedtime story for my little girl.

Little Quack by Lauren Thompson

A cute counting story about five little ducklings taking their first swim in the pond. The pictures are colorful and engaging and the story captured his attention easily. As a bonus, Jonathan had a lot of fun counting the ducklings on the bottom of the pages with the "quack-ulator". There's a whole series of Little Quack books and I know we'll be checking out more of these books!

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root

This is a very fun tongue-twister of a book about a duck stuck in the muck. The colorful and vibrant illustrations are very engaging as the book counts up from one to ten as different animals try to help the duck get unstuck from the muck! It's a great book for reinforcing counting and is very engaging for toddlers. We've checked this book out of the library a couple times now and it's grown on Jonathan each time.

Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet

This is another touch-and-feel book from Matthew Van Fleet. Van Fleet's book helps to reinforce lessons of shape, color, and texture. Several different animals are featured throughout this book with minimal text. This is another book that was more appealing for Grace than for Jonathan, although Jonathan did pull it out several times to have daddy read it to him.


We used watercolor paints for the first time to paint a picture of a duck. He liked mixing and swirling the colors a lot, but I didn't get a picture. The picture was from Carisa's Tot School Printables pack.


We also did some pre-writing sheets from Carisa's Tot School Printables as well as a duck puzzle and a duck lacing card. Jonathan did a very good job on the puzzle!

Anyways, sorry for the lack of pictures, but it was still a fun day looking at ducks!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Days Three and Four and Five- Resurrection Eggs!

Wednesday through today are kind of lumped together, since we've been focusing on the Easter story...

Books & Resurrection Eggs

Wednesday we started looking at our Resurrection Eggs. These are12 colorful plastic Easter eggs that each hold a small token to help retell the Easter story. I finally got the book I was hoping to use with our eggs today:

The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme and Song is such a great resource for toddlers! The Resurrection Eggs set comes with a small devotional book- but it isn't suited well for toddlers. Also, if you do the 1 egg a day format, you end up spending about 5 or 6 days on the death of Jesus. That's just a lot for a toddler-- so I like that this book chooses eggs. It's just perfect for doing one a day on Easter week! The rhymes are very fun and there are songs to go along with certain days. Apparently, there's a DVD that goes along with the book, but we don't own it. We may have to try to find it for next year!

Wednesday- we focused on the story of Palm Sunday. Since we didn't have the Resurrection Eggs book, we just read the Bible story from Jonathan's Baby Bible. Jonathan still enjoyed pointing out Jesus in the pictures and was excited to open the first resurrection egg which had a little donkey inside. For art, we tried to make a donkey out of our orange playdough.

Thursday we focused on the story of the Last Supper/Passover Meal. We read the story of the Last Supper from The Jesus Storybook Bible. We opened our second and third resurrection eggs-- the coins and the cup.

Today we got our book in the mail and we opened up several more Resurrection Eggs- the praying hands, the crown of thorns, the cross made of nails, and the stone in front of the tomb.

Then we fingerpainted! I put some masking tape on a piece of fingerpaint paper to make the outline of a cross, and then I let Jonathan fingerpaint. He chose red paint and had a lot of fun!

For more Resurrection Egg ideas, see 2 Teaching Mommies 12 Days of Easter unit-- lots of great ideas there!

We are headed out of town for Easter, so Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Day Two

Yesterday we continued our Easter egg unit.


We read The Easter Story by Patricia Pingry. This was another age-appropriate introduction to Easter, focusing on the biblical narrative more than the traditions of Easter. It shares about who Jesus is, where He lived, and a little about His ministry with the twelve apostles. It then goes into the Easter story, being truthful about Jesus' death without being scary. It talks about how Jesus is alive today and how we can live too if we believe in Him! It's short and it held Jonathan's attention well. He had fun pointing out Jesus on each page. We'll be reading this book each year, I'm sure!


We sorted Easter erasers and tried to put them into patterns:


We tore up Easter colored tissue paper and pressed it onto contact paper that I had cut into the shape of a cross: 

Sensory Bin

We played with an Easter sensory bin. I filled it with tissue paper, Easter grass, confetti, plastic eggs, bendable bunnies, colorful cups, etc.:


We listened to some Easter hymns/children's songs. Jonathan started jumping around to the children's song "Ho-Ho-Ho Hosanna"

And that was our day! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Day One

We started our Easter egg unit yesterday. Most of my ideas are coming from the Joyful Heart Learning program over at Hubbard's Cupboard.


We read The Best Thing About Easter by Christine Tangvald. This is a perfect introduction to Easter! The narrator (a little girl) shares her favorite things about Easter- Easter eggs, Easter candy, bunnies, ducks, and chicks, getting dressed up and going to church-- but none of those things are the best thing about Easter. She shares how the best thing about Easter is Jesus! The story shares how a very sad thing happened (Jesus died) but that Jesus is now alive and He loves us! It's a wonderful message for children and Jonathan picked up on it quite quickly. We read the book several times (at his request) and by the second or third reading, he knew that the best thing about Easter was Jesus! (Although when daddy quizzed him later he did say Easter eggs). This is such a sweet book-- the only thing that would have made it better would be if there was a little boy featured in the story as well as the girl.

Nursery Rhymes 

We read Humpty Dumpty. And we acted out the story using an Easter egg. We put the egg on a box and let it fall down and "crack". Then we put it back together.


We listened to the Wiggles sing Humpty Dumpty:

Egg-tra Ordinary Sounds

I filled 12 plastic eggs with different materials (rice, beans, pasta, pennies, pom poms, and pumpkin seeds) and placed them in an Easter basket.

I encouraged him to try to match the eggs by shaking them and listening to the sound. He did this for a few minutes. However, he got much more interested in dumping out the contents of the eggs. I hadn't sealed them because I thought he might want to look inside to help match the eggs-- I'll know better next time!

I let Gracie play with some of the eggs too (supervised of course!) She loved it!


We colored a Humpty Dumpty coloring page as well as a letter "Ee" page from Carisa's Tot School Printables over at 1+1+1=1. He had a lot of fun using his Do-a-Dot markers again. 

We had a very fun day! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Orange Playdough!

We made our first successful homemade play dough today! I found the recipe over at Hubbard's Cupboard- a great resource for preschool activities. I reduced the recipe since we didn't need 6 tubs of orange playdough:

Orange Playdough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
1 tbsp orange extract
red & yellow food coloring to reach desired color

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan
2. Cook over medium heat until mixture pulls away from sides of pan- be sure to stir constantly!
3. Knead & play!
4. Store in an airtight container

Jonathan helped me with the food coloring and watched as I cooked it. We pulled out some Springtime cookie cutters and he had a lot of fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tot School- d is for dinosaur, doctors, diggers, dogs, (and ducks)- oh my!

Tot School
Jonathan is 27 Months
This week both Jonathan and Grace sufficiently recovered from croup/ear infections and we got back into the swing of Tot School. We started looking at the letter d while we were sick and learned about dinosaurs. This week we focused on doctors, diggers, dogs and ducks! I haven't gotten the ducks post up yet- but hope to sometime in the next week.


We continued to review our memory verse this week from the Songs for Saplings CD:

"He will take great delight in you" Zephaniah 3:17. 

We printed out the memory verse from the Totally Tots printable. We've started having a little "circle time" every morning which Jonathan is excited about. We pull out our baby band and sing several songs, including our memory verse. Even Gracie plays along!


We read lots and lots of books the past couple weeks about all of our "d" words. We also started reading a children's devotional in the morning,  Everything a Child Should Know about God by Kenneth Taylor. Here were some of Jonathan's favorites- click on the links to see our reviews and lots more books!

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
How do Dinosaurs Say Good Night by Jane Yolen
Dazzling Diggers by Tony Mitton
Digger Man by Andrea Zimmerman
Angus Lost by Majorie Flack
Go Dog Go! by Philip Eastman

Sensory Bin 

We played with a dinosaur sensory bin- this kept him occupied for a long time!

Motor Skills 

We did some work on lacing using cards (dinosaurs and ducks) I printed from Confessions of a Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1's Tot School Printables.

We also worked on transferring water using a medicine dropper:

And we worked on puzzles.

Letters  & Writing

We did a dinosaur letter match from Confessions of a Homeschooler. This didn't hold his attention for too long, but he got the concept. He would confuse the letters if they were upside down- for example, the font made the "n" and "u" look the same. And initially he thought "d" was "p" and there's no "p" in dinosaur.

We also did some pre-writing exercises:


We made our own doctor kit:

We did a dog craft:

Pretend Play/Music/Games

We played with Jonathan's toy digger 

And played hide and seek to Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone using a toy puppy:

Practical Life 

Jonathan helped Mommy with some Spring Cleaning:

Anyways, this upcoming week we're starting on the letter "e" for eggs and elephants. We're mostly focusing on eggs for Easter! I'm excited about this week!

I'm linking up to:

Link & Learn @ No Time for Flashcards
Tot School @ 1+1+1=1
What My Child is Reading @ Mouse Learns, Mouse Grows

Saturday, April 16, 2011

d is for dog

Image source

Jonathan loves dogs. We don't have any dogs at this point, but several family members do and Jonathan just loves them. So, it was only fitting to spend time talking about dogs!

Sign Language 

We reviewed the sign for dog.


Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

This was another longer story for Jonathan, but he did quite well with it. It's the first in a classic series about the adventures of a dog who loves to be messy and hates bath time. Harry gets so dirty that his family no longer recognizes him-- unless he jumps in the tub! There's a reason this is a classic story-- at 27 months, it was simple enough that Jonathan followed the story and seemed to enjoy it as well! I think this is a book we will be coming back to.

Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack

This is the first book in another classic series from the 1930s about a little Scottie dog named Angus. Angus wonders what it would be like to experience the big world. He gets his opportunity when the gate is left open. The curious dog has some adventures before he finds his way home. The story is beautifully illustrated
and isn't terribly scary for a toddler. Jonathan really focused in on this story- the text was short enough that he sat through the story easily and he was genuinely concerned that the little dog came home. I think we will be checking out the other two books in this delightful series!

Go Dog Go! by Philip Eastman

This book was the favorite out of all the dog books we read. I think it has to do with the fact that dogs were driving. Jonathan's favorite part is where the dogs reach a stop light, as he just started telling us "red means stop! green means go!". We have both the full length version as well as the board book version and while both held his attention, he still gravitated to the board book more. Still, it's a classic story that I remember enjoying and he seems to really be drawn to Eastman's dogs as well.
Dog by Matthew Van Fleet

We checked this book out of the library after seeing how highly it was ranked on Amazon. It features moveable parts as well as different tactile experiences from petting puppy dogs to feeling a "sticky" tongue. The story attempts to introduce different dogs, show some opposites (big dog, little dog) and show what dogs do (including going to the bathroom). It's a fun experience for toddlers, but there isn't much text to it. While Jonathan enjoyed the pull tabs, Grace probably enjoyed the different textures more. It's a fun book to look at for sure, but not one we'll be purchasing.

Where's Spot? by Eric Hill

This is the first book in another series that is popular with toddlers. In this book, a mommy dog searches throughout the house for her puppy Spot. Toddlers can lift flaps to help the mommy dog search for Spot and uncover several other animals in the process. Jonathan has enjoyed this book from when he was about twelve months old, so I pulled it out again for the day. He still enjoys this book- but it isn't as popular as when he was one.


We did a glueing craft that I found over at First School. I didn't manage to get a picture of the craft in progress, but here's the end result:

Jonathan's getting much more adept at using a glue stick and he even knew where the feet/head should go.


We played "Where Has My Little Dog Gone?" I would hide a beanie baby dog in the room and we'd sing "Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?" Then Jonathan would go hunt for the dog. This was our first attempt at any kind of hiding game and he got the general idea of it. I'd hide the dog somewhere fairly obvious and then he'd find the dog. He was so proud of himself when he'd find the dog!

Library Links 

Angus Lost
Go Dog Go!
Harry the Dirty Dog
Where's Spot?

Web Resources

Angus Lost resources @ Homeschool Share
Harry the Dirty Dog lapbook @ Homeschool Share
D is for dog @ Walking by the Way
Dog Lesson Plan @ First School
CUTE dog craft @ Our Family for His Glory
D is for dog @ Muck Monsters
Spot Lapbook @ Kidzclub

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