Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Dinosaur Countdown

Dinosaur Countdown by Nicholas Oldland

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Smiling Deinonychus

Recommends for readers of 1-2-3 Dinosaurs Bite! A Prehistoric Counting Book by the American Museum of Natural History, Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons and Inside-Outside Dinosaurs by Roxie Munro.

Summary: Count to ten with lots of happy dinosaurs.

Review: The best parts of Dinosaur Countdown are the numerous smiling dinosaurs. Most of the books you find on the shelf about dinosaurs are realistic to the point of being a little bit scary. The other extreme is having dinosaurs that look nothing like any fossils ever found. I'll never forget when I shared a magnet board tale of ten dinosaurs in storytime and a little enthusiast shouted, "Those aren't REAL!!!"

Children can learn to count to ten with realistic, friendly dinosaurs. My favorite part of the book is the 0/none page where fossils are shown. I would have rated this book higher if the pronunciations were included on the page. They are included in the back (on my Kindle version), but it's difficult to flip back and forth. My storytime anecdote should serve as a warning, you definitely want to pronounce everything correctly!

Sensitive Readers Beware: No objectionable material.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

D is for Daredevil

The usual suspects:
Sorting capital/lowercase magnets
Practice letter shape with Crayola monster flashcards
Color weekly superhero
Leapfrog flashcard D (for drum)
Play dough
Letter worksheets from Raising Rockstars

Honestly, I couldn't find much for Daredevil, so I also looked for Dash sheets from the Incredibles. There wasn't anything out there that I could find. Note to all you tech savvy mama's: Please make an Incredibles Preschool Pack! Instead, I chose to use the materials we already had on hand. We've used the DC sticker books in the past, but I found this Dinosaur sticker book to use this week. Bobo worked on the parts of T-Rex and the life cycle of a dinosaur.

We made dinosaurs out of Play-Doh and letter Ds.

We have a large collection of coloring and activity books, so I pulled out the How to Train Your Dragon one. The riddle activity was Bobo's favorite. 

We attempted to watch the Daredevil movie with Jennifer Garner (I just started watching Alias on Netflix!!!), but we couldn't get through it. We didn't even make it to Elektra's appearance.

Our favorite video of the week is "Dee Doodley Do" from the StoryBots.

Shared with TGIF.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Marble Valentines

I've had this idea pinned for a long time from the Chocolate Muffin Tree. We used Super Foam from the Dollar Tree and food color mixed with a little water.

Spray lots of shaving cream on a tray and smooth it out. Bobo used a clay tool.

Use a dropper to put colors all over the shaving cream.

Then, cover yourself with the colorful shaving cream. What? Wait a minute, first cut out a heart from white paper and place it flat on the shaving cream. Scrape off the shaving cream and let dry.

After they are dry, you can glue them to anything. Bobo chose red paper. We've been reading lots of Valentine books the past couple of weeks. This activity goes great with any of them.

Shared with Read.Learn.Explore and TGIF.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Read Alouds

Jasper is searching for the perfect gift for his bunny love. Snowy Valentine reminds me a bit of the Gruffalo in that it is a circuitous story with a hint of danger. Bobo and I both enjoyed this adorable story.

I Love You, ZooBorns! is a fantastic easy reader with new vocabulary. The owl is our favorite. He's so fluffy and cute! The photography is just right with capturing the love mood.

The perfect Valentine book for a boy! Leon has a secret crush on Zoey Maloney. He makes her a Valentine confessing his love. The Valentine tries to persuade Leon to give up his crush because, 
Love is yucky,
Stinky too!
It will turn your brain to goo.
Bobo has been singing this song all week. The little Valentine may change his mind about love when he comes face-to-face with a girl Valentine. Definitely check this book out for a funny, upbeat Valentine story.

I love Jan Brett, but I don't often share her stories aloud. The story becomes richer with the illustrations, which you need to explore carefully. It doesn't lend itself to sharing with a large group. Fortunately, I have an audience of one at home, so I was excited to read the new Jan Brett book about a lovesick turtle. Mossy is an interesting character. She is a turtle who loves her home and even begins to grow part of it on her shell. She is discovered by a natural museum curator and taken away. But the curator's niece shows her aunt, Mossy would be happier in her natural environment. Mossy returns to her beloved Lilypad Pond to find her mate, Scoot. The last page is simply an illustration, which I flipped right over, but Bobo exclaimed, "Awww, her babies!" When I turned back, Mossy did indeed have a family.

What has your family been reading? Find more ideas for read alouds at Read-Aloud Thursday and the Children's Bookshelf.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bloodlines Series

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)
The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Performance-enhancing Tattoos

Recommends for readers of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, House of Night series by P.C. Cast or Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Summary: Sydney is an alchemist who uses her powers in the magical world's equivalent of the CIA. She covers up vampire and dhampir activity to protect innocent humans. Before she met Rose Hathaway, she believed vampires and dhampirs were demonic, something to be feared. Now that the vampire royal family is in danger, which side will Sydney choose to protect?

Review: Bloodlines takes place in the same world as the Vampire Academy series with some of the same characters. Do you need to read the other series first? I say, "Why wouldn't you?!?" I may be a bit biased as VA is my favorite book series of all time. I think everyone, everywhere should read them regardless if you go on to read Bloodlines.

Once you read VA, you will be compelled to read this series, though. I will tell you why in one word, "Adrian." Adrian is the bad boy love interest of the main character in VA. He is also in this series and has gone back to his bad boy ways. Plus, you may want to find out what happens in the political upheaval in the aftermath of Last Sacrifice.

Let's say you don't want to read VA, first. (Again, WHY NOT?) Then, you'll simply be starting a series surrounding the lives of the secret agents of the vampire/dhampir world who use magic to battle the forces of evil. Still interesting, right?

Sydney comes from a long line of alchemists. She grew up with a demanding father who wished for a boy. She has never been to a regular school, instead she was taught the art of alchemy at home.  Perhaps most important, Sydney is a sister who will do anything to protect her family. She takes her work seriously, and right now her work is protecting the vampire princess from assassination.

Bloodlines is full of mystery and action. It is light on love, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Sydney is the exact opposite of Rose. She is a logical introvert. Again, this is not necessarily bad. I've only read the first two books. The third, Indigo Spell, just came out and we still have three more books coming. I think Sydney has plenty of room for development. She's already adding more color to her wardrobe!

Sensitive Readers Beware: I consider this series to contain mature content in general. There may not be sex or offensive language (yet), but the tone is dark.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Preschool Trays: Valentine's Day

Magnetic science tray. Bobo asked for the magnet balls and I added the pipe cleaner hearts.

Heart skewers in styrofoam. Stickers on heart-shaped box.

Heart beads and heart-shaped boxes.

I didn't get pictures of some of the invitations because Bobo was so eager to decorate. He filled a vase with heart gems and flowers. He put together the materials for this one.

I love these stamp sets they sell at the Dollar Tree. They are the perfect size with nice variety. The stamp pad was dry from this one, but we've gotten ones in the past that worked. I just used another stamp pad. Or you can use paint.

And now some non-related trays. Daddy's concert is coming up this week, so there's lots of music and practice. Bobo has his own music tray.

And a couple of trays that came in our early learning bag this month. Drawing shapes.

Thomas wooden puzzles. The puzzles we borrow in these bags are so much better than the ones I've bought at the dollar store. I'm inspired to look for high-quality puzzles, now.
Sharing with Montessori MondayTuesday Tots, Finished Fridays and the Kids Co-Op.

Sensory Bin: Valentine

What's in the bin?
Rose petals (fabric)
Heart jewels (pink and red)
Glittery foam hearts (pink and red)
Heart-shaped cardboard boxes
Heart-shaped balloon
Red potpourri

Bobo helped with the construction of the bin this time from start to finish. We also purchased some Easter items, which explains the bunny ears. I love how this box smells! Bobo had lots of fun sorting the potpourri. He was heartily disappointed that everything wasn't for decorating. However, I think I appeased him with other activities.

Shared with Tuesday Tots, Share It Saturday and the Kids Co-Op.

ABC Review

In January, Bobo learned letters A, B and C. The last week of the month will be a review week. 
I set up his white board for letter recognition review.

He used his Leapfrog flashcards to help identify the beginning sounds of his figures. He did insist on putting Captain America with the Avengers instead of the letter C like I expected. He said Cap has an A on his mask, so he should go with the letter A. I couldn't argue with that logic.

A for Avengers craft
We played a game with the exercise ABC flashcards. Bobo rolled the large cloth alphabet block with the letters A, B, C and the numeral 1. He identified the symbol, then did an action associated with it.

B is for Batman craft
I finally put together some letter crafts. I want to make sure the letters are bold and easily identifiable. The cutesy ones where the letter becomes a shape, like animals, are not what I'm looking for at the moment. I think those will come later when we go through the alphabet again. 

C is for Captain America (real shield)
The C craft is missing the letter because Bobo did not want to "ruin" his "real" shield. He modeled the colors of the shield from his Captain America costume. I still haven't come up with an alternate letter C craft. Maybe he can decorate the letter C with star stickers?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flannel Friday

Flannel's so soft...

"The Most Wonderful Egg in the World" SLC Book Boy shares a teaser for the book by Helme Heine with flannel pieces for an adaptation. I must check out this book!

"Happy Birthday" with yummy cupcakes and a surprise ending from Ram Sam Storytime.

"Looking for a Hug" from Librarian VS Storytime.  Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo-doo! Add a favorite television character to one of your stories or rhymes.

"Five Comfy Mattresses" also known as "The Princess and the Pea" from The Voices Inside My Headphones is my kind of silly.

"Clip-Clop" from Piper Loves the Library is an adaptation of "the perfect book" according to Jane and I must agree. The black backing on the figures make them jump off the flannel board which can be challenging with that red.

"Five Royal Penguins" a countdown rhyme and guessing game by me!

"Heart Felt Songs" from Storytime ABC's offers several ideas for Valentine's Day programs. Could those hearts work for a rainbow storytime, too?

"Cookie Monster" from Read, Rhyme and Sing. Mmmm, C is for cookie that's good enough for me!

Is that a banana?

"Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich" A deliciously silly version of the Shel Silverstein poem from So Tomorrow.

"Winter Tree and Forest Animals" from Read, Sarah, Read. It's a lift-the-flap prop. Go ahead, click on it.

"Not a Box" from Thrive After Thee. A cardboard box is all you need for a brilliant story prop.

You CAN wear it on your finger

"Little Birdies" Welcome Storytime Fun to the mix with her many colored birds.

"Humpty Dumpty" from Libraryland. I love Dr. Jean!

How'd you do that?

"Flannel Board" out of a binder. How did she do it? Find out on Read it Again! Don't miss her fish flannel to share with little patrons.

"Cutting Flannel with a Silhouette Cameo" from Loons and Quines. A review I find interesting as I've been using my library's Cricut to make craft pieces. I haven't been brave enough to try flannel yet.

It's like flannel that doesn't fall down...

"Never Too Little to Love" SLC Book Boy shares my favorite love story with laminated pieces that look as if they popped right out of the book and an adorable giraffe hat.

"Musical Instruments" Story Time Secrets lets us in on the secret to planning storytimes for challenging letters like X and V.

And that concludes the round-up portion of this post. Thank you all for contributing such fun, inventive stories. If you would like to join the Flannel Friday group, you can follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. For more information, visit the Flannel Friday blog.

Read It Again!
The candles are lit! Flannel Friday will be celebrating our 2nd birthday on March 15th, 2013. There are several ways in which you can take part. First, fill out the Where in the World are you? survey. You do not need a blog or web site for this party game. The major festivities begin on March 8th when Rain Makes Applesauce will be sharing What Flannel Friday means to you? Contribute a poem, song, video or even a flannel story to show your appreciation for this fabulous group. If you can't make it to the party, but would still like to send a card (i.e. you don't have a blog), please leave a comment on Rain Makes Applesauce or our FB page.

Flannel Friday: Five Royal Penguins

Penguins by Miss Meredith

Five Royal Penguins
From: PUBYAC Digest, Vol 13, Issue 7

One royal penguin with nothing much to do,
Called for his brother and then there were two.
Two royal penguins happy as could be,
Called for their sister and then there were three.
Three royal penguins wished there were more,
Called for their mother and then there were four.
Four royal penguins learning how to dive,
Called for their father and then there were five.
One, two, three, four, five!

Each penguin has different color eyes, so I showed all of them before starting out the rhyme and asked the children to call out each character. After saying the rhyme once, I took down the penguins and had the children recall the colors as we said it again.

I also made a penguin guessing game to introduce the theme of the day that was inspired by our craft.

What do you get when you take a circle,

and you cut it in half,

and cut it in half again?

Hmmm, what can it be? Add a mouth and eyes to see... That's right, a penguin.

Sharing with the Kids Co-op and For the Kid's Friday

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Snorkeling with Sea-Bots!

Snorkeling with Sea-Bots! by Amy Lemke

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Wave-Making Robots

Recommends for readers of Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, Stone Rabbit series by Erik Craddock and Mighty Mighty Monsters series by Sean O'Reilly.

Summary: Kolten meets an underwater robot named Rip at the beach. Rip shows Kolten his home.

Review: Snorkeling is a delightful read with vibrant illustrations.  It will be a great introduction to graphic novels as it is easy to navigate. I'm often intimidated by the layout of graphic novels and move them to the pile of Daddy read-alouds.

The large illustrations and sparse text make this an excellent conversational book to explore "reading" the pictures. Small children can work on their narrative skills, while those a little bit older will enjoy the robots and oceanic humor. Didn't you know the waves, bubbles and mysteries of the sea are controlled by underwater robots?

Fun Extras: There are three activities at the end of the book to extend reading. Fabulous!

Sensitive Readers Beware: None. Good read for all ages. This would be a fun book to read with the whole family.

C is for Captain America

Captain America and Catwoman are all I've got! Bobo said Catwoman is a villain, so we can't use her. We found the Cap in pre-writing sheets, coloring, same/different and mazes. Bobo stamped some letter Cs. He also used his Leapfrog flash cards and letter magnets.

Painting yellow cars with a Cars stencil (on yellow paper, LOL).

Bobo did great with the letter C for identification. I didn't get into the copycat sound of the letter S too much. A video we watched did talk about it. We are going through the alphabet at a leisurely pace while his interest lasts.

I didn't take many pictures this week (now several weeks ago). We did find a wonderful video for the letter C!

Flannel Friday Placeholder

I'm so happy to be hosting Flannel Friday this week. Please leave your links in the comments. I will be making another post throughout Friday and Saturday once I have everyone's ideas. Flannel Friday will be 2-years-old on March 15th, so we are planning something special. I'll have more information in the next post. Thank you for sharing! The Round-Up is Live...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Preschool Trays: A little bit of Valentine love

Bobo is really ready for Easter, but I assured him Valentine's Day comes first.

Puzzles are quickly becoming a favorite past time. The transportation puzzle by Melissa and Doug have chunky pieces great for imaginative play as well.

The wooden horse puzzle is a challenge at 24 pieces with similar looking horses.

Zombie Lab experiment making zombie skin. Mix and 10 minutes in the fridge make a delicious treat.

My little joker loves this Valentine joke cards. Lift the flap to find the answers.

Hand-print craft kit makes a lovely Valentine's gift for mommy.

Sparkly hearts for decorating.

We have more Valentine activities planned for this week. Bobo also loves exploring his red sensory bin.
Sharing on Montessori Monday.