Monday, September 19, 2016

Preschool Lesson: Letter "A"

Can we talk about how much I enjoyed hosting SourPatch's first "preschool" at our house? Certainly I felt tickled that the kids seemed to enjoy themselves and have a fun time. Gold star there. Yet the part that surprised me was how satisfied and happy I felt during the 2 hours. It reminded me how much I want to be engaged in providing interactive and, hopefully, multifaceted play for my kids on a regular basis, not just when it's my turn to host preschool. Sometimes, I think it's great to let my little boy play with his toys alone and churn out his creative juices without adult intervention. Other times, I want to give him the tools to play and learn together several different ways with songs, crafts, stories, and fine/large motor skills. It was great. Okay, without further ado, here's how we structured our "A" day:

We started out talking briefly about the letter. We made capital "A"s with popsicle sticks and talked about the sounds "a" makes in the words acorn, apple, and armor. (Yes, I know "a" can make more sounds, but c'mon, these kiddos are 2 and 3 years old. Three sounds are plenty, n'est pas?)

Next, we went on our adventure. Now, I should acknowledge that Elin was right. She told me that the kids would have the most fun doing interactive, imaginative play, and this was definitely the highlight for the kiddos. After running around the room as airplanes, we went to Africa to see the animals. I put a map of Africa on SourPatch's door, and with flashlights in hand, the kids went in to find the animals I'd hidden around the room. It was lots of giggles and fun.

After our safari, we sorted the animals into piles by color.

We then got into our airplanes again to fly back to America to sing songs.

  • Still in animal mode we sang Five Little Monkeys Swinging from a Tree (teasing Mr. Alligator, "Can't catch me!") 
  • We also sang Old McDonald. Mom gave me this great Monkey Mitt that has velcro fingers to stick on the little animals as we sang.

Next, we talked about how "astronaut" also starts with A so we could sing interactive space songs, such as:
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! (We're going to the moon!)
  • I'm a Little Rocket
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 
Singing works up an appetite, so we stopped to have a snack of animal crackers and apple slices. Really, it was a nice segue into our fine-motor activity. Has anyone else seen this cool lacing toy? It's basically just an apple tree with all sorts of foliage and wildlife you can lace onto it's branches and trunk. I wasn't sure how it would go over, but the kids were super excited about it. 

There are so many fun books we could have read! I'd forgotten that the library was closed the day before preschool, so I stuck with favorites we had at home: Curious George and the Rocket to go with our astronaut theme and From Head to Toe to go with our animal theme.

We also dressed our knight in his armor using this awesome page Elin made:

As we finished up, they colored an I-Spy worksheet to review our "a" words. They were really excited to point out all the words we talked about.

And for the piece de resistance, we did the ever-so-popular alligator craft. No, the teeth didn't make it quite into place, but I was proud nonetheless.

Pretty good for a 2-year-old, yes? The kids (and I) had a great time.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Barbie House Nursery

I promise that not all my blogs will be about the Barbie house, but I thought I would share a few other things that might spark ideas for furnishing your own some day.

One of my favorite rooms is the nursery. We color coordinated the two attic rooms using blues and yellows. The fabrics we chose have similar colors, but the prints are different--polka dots for the teenagers' room and suns, moons and stars for the nursery:

One of the things I love about it is that we were able to do some magical repurposing. Several years ago I ran across a small, wooden kitchen set on clearance at Target that had a fridge and counter top/range with bar stools. Unable to resist, I bought it and tucked it away. When we started this house, I pulled it out. I still loved it, but in the meantime, I had purchased a complete kitchen with a bazillion pieces for $1 at a thrift store. Although I personally don't love plastic doll furniture, I knew that my young Barbie fans would probably care more about fun accessories than aesthetics.  Soooooooo, I repurposed the wooden kitchen in the nursery.

The fridge, turned on its side and topped with a cushion, is now a bench. The doors lift up for storage:

The range/countertop, turned upside down, is now the changing table. I turned the drawer upside down as well, and it functions beautifully:

The other thing I love about this room is that it holds four generations of memories. My mother gave me the rocker and rocking cradle when I was a child. Years later, my daughters used them in their Barbie house. Now, with new cushions and bedding, my mother's great-grand daughter rocks her dolls in them--a good reason, by the way, to choose wood furniture over plastic:

And the cuckoo clock above the bench is another treasure from great-grandma--a lovely Christmas ornament that she brought home from the Philippines.

So fill your doll house (as well as your home) with fun finds and warm memories.