Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Messy Learning Lab: Just Add Water


Is water really messy? I planned all these activities with water and the answer is decidedly, "YES!"


Luckily, my wonderful, amazing, fantastic co-worker, John, had the foresight to put a tarp down, or the hard wood floors may have taken a hit. I filled two under-the-bed storage totes with water. I added some toys to one and floating things to the second.


We used spray bottles at both craft tables. Possibly a favorite activity involved children spraying EVERYTHING. Spraying really works those motor skills! One table had relief painting with liquid watercolors.


The other table used the tried and true method of staining regular paper with tissue paper.


I recently purchased egg shakers to use in storytimes, so these homemade sand shakers got a new life. I poked holes in the bottoms, so the kids could shake, shake, shake the sand into some water. I just love the feeling of wet sand.


No water program is complete without water beads! You can see my hand turning the small tote so both boys could reach at the same time. I really needed a bigger tote for this activity. I just didn't have many beads left after the last event. I paired the beads with sand toys. They enjoyed fitting as many beads as they could into each shape.


Another simple activity made new by adding water. Cover a chalkboard, or sidewalk, with chalk markings, then use water to paint. Draw and repeat.


This mat is a chalkboard banner! I've used it several times since this event and I love it, but the first time it was super stiff even after ironing. I added water to cornstarch and food coloring to make chalk paint. It dries with a cool texture.


I saved the favorite for last. The Ooey Gooey Lady had an obstacle course set up for a conference on Facebook recently. This is my take on it. I taped bubble wrap to the floor and added blue balls to the parachute (water and umbrella).

Adding water is easy, cost effective and so fun. Have you added water to any activities? Leave me a comment with some links! I'd love to see what you've been up to this summer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All Quiet on the Home Front


I think it's been almost 2 months since a post! We've been plenty busy, but I haven't had time to share. Summer is my busiest time at work. I have lots of posts to write, so please be patient with me.

Before seeing Beauty & the Beast

Friday, May 3, 2013

Flannel Friday: Five Delicious Cupcakes


"Happy Birthday"
Traditional Song

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear children,
Happy birthday to you.

How old are you now?
How old are you now?
How old are you, children?
How old are you, now?


Each child can bring up a cherry and attach it to the cupcake with their age. This works great with a mixed age group. It's fun to share with a new group to get to know everyone. You can also use the flannel as a counting game as shown above. Use with a birthday theme, counting theme, or baking theme!

Library Quine is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round-up.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flannel Friday Round-Up


"Five White a Fluffy Sheep" from Fun with Friends at Storytime. Kathryn used the tune of my favorite storytime song, "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" to shear some sheep for a flannel story that is just right for April. She also suggests lots of wonderful sheepy books. I just love the tiny eyes on these sheep. As I've had fun with this song myself, it is a great example of the resource sharing that takes place each week on Flannel Friday!

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff from Libraryland. Lisa made a portable flannel story from a pizza box and detailed pieces that can be stored inside it to take for Outreach programs. Absolutely brilliant! The patterns are also shared.

"Six Little Men in a Flying Saucer" from Storytime with Miss Tara. This storytime has me singing "catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day." Don't miss Miss Tara's Letter of the Day letter match. It's such a great idea.

"Shape by Shape" by Suse MacDonald from Thrive After Three. Mrs. Shaia shares an inventive flannel story idea ala "Go Away Big Green Monster!" This simple idea can be adapted to lots of the guessing books out there. This flannel is perfect for Dig into Reading.

"Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert from Busy Crafting Mommy. Haven't we all wanted to make this into a flannel board? Check out the beautifully detailed flowers by BCM.

"Chook, Chook, Chook, Chook, Chook" nursery rhyme from What is Bridget Reading? Bridget shares lovely, detailed chicks and a hen to accompany this traditional rhyme. I'd love to use this for Mother Goose on the Loose.

"The Quilt that Grandma Made" from Story Time Secrets. Katie explores the letter Q through a cumulative story of a grandma making a quilt.

"Five Little Ladybugs" from Bird's Books. Kheineck's first Flannel Friday submission is one after my own heart. These ladybug fingerpuppets are versatile and adorable.

"Star Cookies" from Spectacular Story Time. Angela did some deep digging to come up with this flannel story from her childhood. The characters have wonderful facial expressions, so be sure to check it out. It would be a great addition to a folk tales or outer space theme.

"Five Little Caterpillars" from Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime. The original countdown rhyme has a surprise ending that's sure to delight the preschool crowd.

"Five Funny Clowns" from Miss Meg's Storytime. Miss Meg goes to the circus and shares lots of silly stories.

"Farm Pack" from Storytime Katie. Katie shares her pieces for "Bingo" and "Old MacDonald." I love the barn! The cow reminds me of an illustration... Sandra Boynton's maybe?

"Five Umbrellas" from Catch the Possibilities. Amy and a teen volunteer created these adorable umbrellas. Adding eyes really gives them some personality. This rhyme comes at the perfect time for my neck of the woods that had lots of rain this past week!

"Birds in a Tree" from Story Time with the Library Lady. LL shares a beautiful 3-D cherry blossom tree complete with colorful birds.

"Rocket" from Madigan Reads. Blast off with an adorable storytime anecdote.

"Little Mouse House" from Rachel's Reading Room. Rachel sewed the mouse houses so they are lift-the-flap. What a great idea!

"Pig's Picnic" by Keiko Kaszo from Time for Storytime. Leah shares her first story with the group. The vibrant, whimsical pieces will please even the toughest crowd!

And that is the round up for this week! Whew, thanks for sharing. Please be sure to check out the first timers posts and leave them a comment. You can check out the Flannel Friday blog to meet all the members and see past round-ups as well as upcoming events.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flannel Friday Placeholder for April 19


I'm hosting Flannel Friday this week. Please leave a link to your post in the comments. 

Flannel Friday is a group of bloggers, children's librarians, moms and crafters who write about flannel stories, storytime and book activities each Friday. If you are interested in viewing some previous round-ups, please look on the Flannel Friday blog.

Find the complete round-up here!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: Always By My Side

Always By My Side by Susan Kerner

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Tear-filled Smiles

Recommends for readers of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Your Moon, My Moon: A Grandmother's Words to a Faraway Child by Patricia MacLachlan

Summary: Children share ways to remember their fathers in rhyming text.

Review: The story begins with a very young child looking out the window answering the unasked question, "Where's your daddy?" His answer is lyrical, "He's in me and around me, never far away."

The illustrations depict a vibrant range of children, both emotionally and ethnically. Each finds a way to see their fathers everyday in the nature and people who surround them. The book is a gentle approach to death. The final scene of the book shows the same little boy from the beginning sleeping next to a photo of his father. I love the continuity of ending with the same character and the sense of peace it creates.

Sensitive Readers Beware: This book may bring up lots of questions about death, it did with my 4-year-old. If you are not ready to breach this subject, you may want to save reading this book until that time comes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letter G is for Gambit


The two superheroes we focused on for the letter G were Gambit and Green Lantern. Bobo chose to paint this week, instead of coloring.

Green Lantern painting, Bobo age 4
He also worked on his DC sticker activity book.

Green Lantern shadow matching
In addition to working on letters each week, Bobo has also been asking for numbers. He can write 1 through 10 and loves practicing on anything he can get his hands on!

From top to bottom and left to right: Blue letter G painting, Thomas number activity, Gambit, Leprechaun craft, Pot of gold craft, Number writing, Chick craft and Green Lantern painting
His Aunt T gave him some wonderful Thomas the Train stickers and activity book for Christmas. So, I made a simple activity of placing the amount of stickers on the number square (1 to 5). We also attended a library Spring craft event with Miss Meredith. I love his little chick coming out of the egg.


Are your kids into mazes? Bobo can't get enough of mazes right now. I think he's done every one in each coloring book he has. He worked on helping Scooby-Doo catch some ghosts and ghouls in this one.


We watched a wonderful video for the big letter G. Little g is still a challenge for writing. Any ideas, tips or tricks you've used to teach it?