Monday, December 16, 2013

Upcycled Snowman Lightbulb Christmas Ornaments

It's time again to come up with ornaments for our kids to make to hang on our school tree. I try to change it up every couple of years and have been searching for something easy and economical for the kids to make. I also wanted something a little different than the same old ornaments that you see every preschool class make. I saw these some time ago on Pinterest and knew we had to try them!

First, we painted the lightbulbs white. As we didn't have any glitter, this served as more of a primer than a real need to paint over the white bulbs.

We painted the tops, or hats, blue and dipped in cups of glitter.

We added eyes, nose, mouths and buttons with puff paint.

I had some fleece scraps that the kids could choose to use if they wanted to make a scarf.

After tying some yarn around the top, we took them up to the lobby and hung them on the tree.

It was a perfect time to pose with our class in front of the tree!

We will be reading lots of great snowman books during our winter theme, but "Snowmen at Christmas" is a favorite and goes perfect with this activity!

Happy holidays!!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reindeer Stable Door Decoration

It's beginning to look festive around our school! This is our door that I decorated to greet the children and help them get into the holiday spirit this week. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Artsy Pumpkins

There have been some very crafty kids in our school! Pumpkins, pumpkins are everywhere! I thought I would share some of my favorite pumpkin crafts that are the current decor in our classrooms.

Craft bucket clean-out Pumpkins
  The inspiration for these cute jack-o-lanterns was actually the need to clean out their craft bucket and use up some of the leftover materials from other projects. These are the school-aged jack-o-lanterns.

  Our pre-k class was inspired and wanted to try it, too!

Painting Mini Pumpkins
We recently visited the pumpkin patch and brought back mini-pumpkins to decorate.We have been painting and adorning them with glitter in our art center every day.

Easel Painting Still Life
This was a still life pumpkin painting done by a preschool student.

Knuckle Pumpkin Patch
These have been around for years, but I still love them! The teacher painted the child's knuckles to help them make a pumpkin patch.

Paper Plate Pumpkins
Paper accents added to an orange painted paper plate make adorable little pumpkins!

Free-hand circles and tissue decoration
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this fine motor activity!!!! The 3's class drew circles with markers, then filled in the pumpkins with craft tissue!!!

Pick-a-part Magazine Face Jack-o-Lanterns
We've made some cute jack-o-lanterns by cutting facial features out of magazines and gluing them on the pumpkin shape. Somehow I managed to have this activity going for a couple of days, but didn't get any photos of the finished products. I'll try to add some here later.

Paper Bag Pumpkins
We've also made lots and lots of paper bag pumpkins. Here's a pic of them added to our pumpkin patch from a couple of years ago, as well as a few of this year's crop.

In all honesty, Halloween is my least favorite time of year, but seeing all these pumpkins adorning our school classrooms have really brightened my season!

Thanks for visiting! Share your thoughts and leave a little "comment love" ~ I love hearing from you!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Make Your Own Gel Paints!

I'm back!!!! I've been a little absent lately--my computer completely died right at the end of the school year. I finally got a new one, but it has taken a while to get familiar with the new operating system. By that time, school was starting again, and all the craziness that goes with a new school year has kept me very busy! I'm glad to be "back in the saddle" again!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is often the case in pre-k! We haven't had much luck with purchasing fingerpaint lately. One batch was much too runny, one really smelled (and the children didn't want to use it) and the last batch came in fairly small tubes, so after just a few kids had a turn the paint was gone! Frustrated, I went to my cabinet to see what I could come up with to improvise some fingerpaint. 

I pulled out some hair gel that I keep on hand for sensory bottles and added a little food coloring. This made fantastic paint that can be used for fingerpaints, brush paints or even as watercolors that are easy for the kids to manage! 

While I did make these for the purposes of fingerpaints, the children love them so much that they ask to use them with brushes, too.

One of my little friends was very much involved in the process of loading the brush, painting a dab or two and rinsing the brush in the water, over and over again. Even with all the water, the paints dried vibrantly!

I think next I'll let the kids experiment by mixing some colors to make their own custom colors. They enjoy these paints so much that it can't hurt to have plenty on hand!

Thanks for visiting! Share your thoughts and leave a little "comment love" ~ I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Remembering Mom on Her Special Day

I hadn't planned to do much with my students for Mother's Day this year. Not that I haven't been thinking about it, but we are down to the final stretch---the last several days of school and we seem to have activities, field trips, activity days, etc. going on every day. But then I read Amy Wruble's post on Huff Post Parents "Let's Move Mother's Day" (check out the post, it's pretty funny and may hit home if you have one of those spouses that doesn't go all out for Mother's Day :) and remembered those little trinkets my kids made for me when they were small and in preschool. I know that now that my kids are much older, I won't get those anymore. And I can't bear to rob the moms of my students even just one of those precious keepsakes. I'm still finalizing our plan, and can't share it or it will spoil the surprise, but I saw this idea in our three year old class and knew I had to share it with you here. 

Mother's Day Corsages
They used 3 coffee filters, each scrunched together in the middle and each end dipped in watercolor paint. After drying, they were wrapped together with a chenille stem folded in half and poked through a lace doily. I would be proud to wear one of these corsages on Mother's Day! 

Last year, we made these little votives for our gift for Mom. Read more here.

If your are looking for some good books for Mother's Day, here are a few of my favorites:

I wish all the Moms, Grandmas and "Mom figures" (babysitters, aunts, teachers, etc.) a wonderful and very Happy Mother's Day!!! 
I'd love to know---what was YOUR favorite "priceless" gift for Mother's Day? Share it here in the comments!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Earth Day, Every Day! Learning About Caring For Our Planet!

Enjoy Nature--plant a garden!

  We 've started a little garden behind our classroom. This week we've worked hard to make sure it is watered properly and even planted a new plant someone gave us. 

We have a little blue skink that lives in our garden! I think it may be the same one from last year. He is getting a little bolder and sticking around a little longer so we can get a better look at him!

Enjoy Nature--Climb a tree!

We've talked and read a lot about how trees are vital to our environment. We've also talked about ways to enjoy trees around us. This is a small tree on our playground that we enjoy hanging out in!

Enjoy Nature--Ride Your Bike
We've talked about how riding bikes or walking instead of driving can help our environment. All that talk of bikes prompted a little bike race!

Make art using recycled materials
 Instead of giving my students a precise craft to replicate, often I give them some materials and a few instructions and let them explore their creativity. For this project, I gave the kids the box of recycled art materials and asked them to create something. They were allowed to use any other materials available, as long as they used items from the box. I was so tickled to see the creativity some of them expressed!

This is a little tree. There are actually layers I couldn't capture with the camera that has sequins as owls in the nest on the tree!

A few of them were exploring with the tape and started making disguises! These few pieces of tape provided TONS of giggles!!!

The 3 year old class made these adorable robots using cereal boxes and toilet paper tubes!

Here's another activity the 3's did for Earth week.

Earth Collage
We pulled some blue, green and white paper from the recycled art box and tore it into small pieces, then used them to make a collage of the Earth. (I do this every year and each year they turn out a little different!) 

Trash Collage
This trash collage was made in the 3 year old class. They simply glued some trash onto a garbage can shape.

Painting the Earth
A couple of the friends painted the earth on paper.

Twist Art Earths
I saw this on Teach Preschool (Earth Day Blog Hop:Give The World A Little Spinand HAD to try it! It was perfect and foolproof, as well as a lot of fun! All the designs were beautiful and unique!

The Water Pollution Experiment
I asked my students to bring in some relatively "clean" garbage the day before. I took a large clear plastic container and asked the kids to find plastic animals around the classroom that might live in ponds or oceans. After we gave all the animals a "home", I make up a little scenario of how each piece of trash might find its way into the water and they take turns "polluting" the water. "As Hannah was walking, she dropped her wrapper and it fell. The wind blew it into the water." By the time each child has had the chance to "accidentally" drop one piece of litter, the container is pretty full. We talk about how the animals are crowded and have to navigate around the trash. The next day, the water has turned color and any dirt particles clinging to the garbage have made the water murky. We go back to the container and take out the trash and talk about how dirty the water is, even with the trash removed. This really helps the kids envision "pollution" in a concrete way!

 The afterschoolers have a new art craze this week. they've been making hair bows from colored duck tape! It only takes a little bit, so it's perfect for that last little bit of tape at the end of a roll! We LOVE DuckTape! They also have several crafts on their site.

This is my BIG "little illumination"! We've had a terrible time with glue bottles this year. Some years, the groups doesn't have any trouble opening and closing the glue bottles, but this year, our glue is always open and clogged. My solution was to use refillable condiment bottles, but the ones we ended up getting had removable tops that were tiny and soon lost. More clogged glue. As I was brushing my teeth, I had an epiphany. I had a little stash of toothpaste bottles that I was saving that would be perfect! The tops flip open and shut, they are small and easily squeezed by small hands. 

Reading About Recycling
Of course, we've read lots of good books about recycling and taking care of our planet. Here are a few of our favorite books about recycling:

Thanks for visiting! Share your thoughts and leave a little "comment love" ~ I love hearing from you!

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