Shamrock Suncatcher

My friend invited us over for a St. Pat’s crafting playdate.  We made a shamrock suncatcher!  It is a great project for preschoolers or elementary students.  Younger kids might need help cutting or gluing, but they will definitely be able to do the confetti all by themselves!

shamrock suncatcher

Materials:

  • two pieces of green scrapbook paper (or green construction paper or cardstock)
  • glitter and/or confetti
  • wax paper
  • glue

Time investment: 15 minutes

Difficulty:  Easy to do….can be difficult to clean up.

st. pat's shamrock suncatcher

  1. Trace or freehand draw a shamrock on green scrapbook paper.
  2. Cut out INSIDE the shamrock and throw away.
  3. Use the shamrock outline to trace on another sheet of green paper and repeat step 2.
  4. Glue a piece of wax paper to the green paper with shamrock cut-out.
  5. Spread glue over the wax paper and sprinkle glitter or confetti on it.
  6. Glue another wax paper on top so the glitter is trapped between the two wax papers.
  7. Glue the other green paper on top (make sure the shamrocks line up!)

shamrock suncatcher in window

Great Day for Up- Activities

Great Day for Up activities

Great Day for Up by Dr. Seuss has a kindergarten reading level.  It has short sentences with lots of repeated words and picture cues.  Reading it to babies and toddlers will introduce lots of new vocabulary.  Preschoolers, kindergartners, and first-graders will appreciate the humor at the end of the book.  Here are some activities that go along with Great Day for Up

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

  • Go on a sight word hunt–  Of course this book is a great way to introduce and practice the word “up,” but there are other sight words repeated in the book.  Find the words and, for, on, great, and day.  (kindergarten- Read common high-frequency words by sight)
  • Count the “up”s– Every time you read “up”, make a tally mark.  Then count them up by practicing skip counting by 5’s.
  • Make flashcards- Pick out the more difficult words in the story and make quick flashcards.  Go over these words before you read and hopefully, they will be able to read them in the story.  I wrote a word and a picture to illustrate it on a small piece of typing paper.  If I did this for my classroom, I would use cardstock and clipart.
  • Sort the words- Using the word flashcards, ask your kiddo to put them into groups.  What things go together?  Maybe there is a group of animals, sports, or people.  You’ll be surprised at kids’ creativity.
  • Explain exclamation points-  This book would be a good introduction to exclamation points since there is at least one on each page.  Point them out and talk about why the author would use them in this book.  Practice writing them.  (kindergarten- Recognize and name end punctuation)
  • Make plurals-  Show how adding -s  or -es to the end of a word means more than one.  Make a list of plurals in the book.  Make plurals out of singular words in the story like “wire” or “pup.”(kindergarten- Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/)
  • Find the rhymes-  Can they identify the rhyming words on each page?  Take a close look at words that rhyme, but have different spellings like  “wire” and “higher” or “waiters” and “alligators.”  (kindergarten- Recognize and produce rhyming words)
  • Make your own “up” book–  Brainstorm things that go up.  Make a book together by writing a word on each page and illustrating it.  Depending on the age of your child, she can color the pictures, come up with the “up” words, or even write it all herself!

Five Free (Indoor) Field Trips

I go a little stir-crazy around the house in the winter.  We try to go outside for a little bit to get some fresh air.  But it’s so cold!!  The kids and I have to get out of the house, explore the world, and….see other people.  Oh yeah, I also don’t like to spend money.  Where can you go to entertain the kids that doesn’t cost anything?

IMG_4700

1.  pet store- It’s like going to the zoo…only free!  Oh yeah, it also has a little smaller animals.  No problem.  Small animals are great for small kids!  Hear birds squawking.  Watch fish swimming.   Maybe you’ll even get to touch a few rabbits.   The kids will love it!  Just don’t walk away with another pet.

2. library- Most libraries have a story time, but some go above and beyond with book chats, speakers, Mother Goose time and the list goes on.  We’ve even gone to a “preschool disco” at our library!  Check with your local library for a schedule of events.  Even if there isn’t a special program, a trip to the library is always worth it.  Grab some books, DVDs, and CDs to keep the kids entertained when you are stuck at home.

3.  toy store-  This can be tricky.  Only attempt it if you know there won’t be an ugly melt-down when the kids realize you aren’t buying anything  (i.e.- you don’t have a two-year-old).  However, some toy stores have LOTS of toys on display that the kids can try out.  We have successfully gone to toy stores, played, and walked out empty-handed.  Try giving older kids a pencil and paper to make a wishlist for their birthday.

4.  art museum- This is one of my personal favorite field trips.  Some art museums do charge admission, so try out free galleries or even local art displays in malls or civic centers.  Make up an art scavenger hunt before you go to have even more fun!

5. mall- Let’s go the mall, today!  Or just go to the mall indoor playground!  It’s a win-win.  You get to people watch.  The kids get to play and get infected with all sorts of germs.  Wait.  Make sure you have some hand sanitizer in your purse.  Also, never tell the kids that those ride-on machines take money.  My kids were not aware that they moved (and still happily sat, pushed buttons, and pretended)…until granny ruined my secret!

IMG_4650

If you are interested in more:  Five Free (Fall) Field Trips

Slush

The snow is melting!  The snow is melting!  Can you see my smile through the interwebs?  It’s big.  We went outside to play and celebrate.  And we got out hoes.  Yes.  I’ve never tried it before, but sidewalk scrapers and hoes easily pushed around the slushy snow on our driveway.  And if you have similar driveways/weather conditions…give it a try!

We made…

  • straight, curvy, and zig-zag lines and then walked on them
  • shapes
  • letters
  • numbers
  • words
  • and our favorite- “snow castles” or the if you want to be honest…piles of slush

IMG_8721

Snow Days

IMG_8114

I always thought I had the best of both worlds being a teacher.  I was a working mom for 9 months of the year and a stay-at-home mom during the summer.  And isn’t summer the best time to be with the kids?  I also got some nice blocks of time off for Christmas and spring break.  And I even had snow days.  Those beautiful bonus days where nothing was planned, it was too cold to go anywhere, and I could spend the day playing with my kids and catching up on laundry.  Oh, nothing is sweeter than a snow day.

Today school was canceled for a snow day, although I think it was really more for the below zero temperatures than the snow.  Since no one goes to school at my house, it didn’t really affect us other than Big Sis asking me every 10 minutes to go outside and freeze her tuckus off (she used the words “play in the snow”).  Yes, I spent my day playing with my kids and catching up on laundry…but I do that every day.  I’m ready to go outside!  Okay, we did go outside….and promptly went inside when I couldn’t feel my toes anymore.

I never thought I was missing much by not being a stay-at-home mom in the winter.  Turns, out I was right. 🙂  February has been my least favorite month to be at home.  Because I actually have to be AT HOME.  Sure we go to indoor playplaces and things like that.  However, I think screaming and running kids are really best in their natural habitat of wide grassy plains, not caged into an inflatable padded room.

I like the snow.  I just don’t like the cold.  I don’t like gray, cold, winter days.  At least today was sunny.  We sat on the living room floor in the sunshine and had a picnic and I pretended it was spring.  I’m really ready for spring.