Letter of the Week ~ P

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 Although my personal philosophy of letter learning is that they cannot be studied in isolation and should be learned in the context of words, as this is how we see them most often, we have a letter of the week at Mommy School.

Why, you may ask, do I do something opposite to what I just finished saying I believe in? Well, for one, we don’t study the one letter in isolation. Typically, we complete a letter craft, create a search and find sensory bin using items that begin with that letter, learn about the various sounds the letter makes in different parts of words (because the English language is crazy!) and plan our weekly fieldtrip to somewhere that begins with our letter. Sometimes, I include the letter in other ways throughout our week, but that’s often just a sweet combination of luck and coincidence!


Here’s what we got up to for Letter P Week:

Letter Dictionary:

Each of my older children gets the chance to find a hidden object that begins with our letter of the week from the rice bin. This week Little Momma chose a police car and Mr Man selected a polar bear.

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I take a photo of the kids with their chosen objects and then have them complete their dictionary page. Little Momma writes a sentence and illustrates, “P is for police.” and Mr Man copies the upper and lower case letter and then draws his chosen object.

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Letter Craft:

P is for Pig.

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To make your own: Pre-cut an upper-case letter P from pink construction paper. Provide a pig nose, tail and ears cut from pink paper, as well as black details for ears and nostrils and some googly eyes.

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Field Trip: 

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For this week’s field-trip Friday we visited the Parliament buildings here in Ottawa and went up the Peace Tower. The kids loved the view of the city (though they thought it was the whole world!) from up in the clock tower!

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Journal Writing: 

To end-off our week the kids each spend some time writing in their journals about our weekly field trip. Often it is pictures for my younger guy with a few scribed sentences, while my eldest will write a few simple sentences on her own, using her word wall, ‘best guess’ spelling and some assistance from myself (she’s my perfectionist!).

 

Feed the Birds

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It’s been a cold, long winter here and while we have been able to cozy up by the fire, the birds have been left to the elements.

And so we have been doing our part to keep them fed – here are a couple of our favourite homemade bird feeders:

 

Peanut Butter Sunflower Rolls:

The kids really enjoy making these ones. They are quick and easy and only require a few items.

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Materials:

– Peanut Butter

– Plastic Knives

– Sunflower seeds (or any birdseed)

– Bowl or plate (for rolling)

– Toilet paper rolls

– String (for hanging)

– String

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Allow the children to spread peanut butter onto their desired number of toilet paper rolls. Then roll in your choice of bird seed. Lace a string through the roll, tie and they are ready to hang!

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Blueberry Cheerio Hearts:

These feeders are a tasty treat for the birds and also double and triple (and even quadruple!) as a snack for the kids and a fine motor and patterning activity!

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Materials:

– pipe cleaners

– cheerios

– blueberries

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Method:

Allow kids to thread the Cheerios and blueberries onto each pipe cleaner. This is a great opportunity to encourage younger children to be more precise in their fine motor activity, especially with the blueberries, which require much less force! For older children, ask them to create and continue a pattern as they thread. Once the kids are satisfied with their creation, twist the pipe cleaner ends and bend into a cute heart shape! Hang.

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 Our finished products are loved by the birds and even make the trees look pretty, but best of all, they bring the sounds of Spring to our yard…since the snow and cold don’t seem to be in a hurry to go!

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 Do have a favourite way to feed the birds in you area? Care to share? We are always looking for new ideas!

A Snowy Playdate

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Stuck inside on a cold day or just wishing Winter away with some hibernation…here are a few fun ideas to help make it a bit more bearable!

 We had a great little snow-themed play date with some little friends this week. It was nice to enjoy the idea of snow, seeing as ridiculously cold temperatures have been keeping us mostly indoors.

 We began with reading this adorable snowy story about what snowmen get up to while we’re sleeping – the kids thought it was great!

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The littlest and bigger kids alike loved this fine motor activity that consisted of transferring little ‘snowballs’ (cotton balls) into different containers using tongs, tweezers and scoops.

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We even brought some snow inside and enjoyed painting it using squirt bottles, spray bottles, droppers and paint brushes with water and food colouring. It was lots of fun – the kids came up with many different designs and especially loved covering every square inch with vibrant colour!

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Last the kids enjoyed a cute ‘build a snowman’ craft using some small parts (beads, buttons and orange triangle pieces), felt shapes (hats and scarves), googly eyes and round cotton pads. Everyone had access to all of the materials, along with some white glue and a sheet of paper…and no two snowmen were alike!

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Have you done any fun winter crafts or activities lately? Please share – I’d love to see them! 🙂

“Frozen” ~ Birthday Party

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Somehow, though it only seems like I blinked, this little girl who made me a Momma is 5 years old – a whole hand, it’s crazy!

|Invitations| 

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Though there are many difficulties about having a child’s birthday around the holidays, it’s pretty fun when you find a way to work it to your advantage!

Little Momma has caught the Frozen-bug, bad…going on a year now! So we knew a Frozen-theme would be top request. I saw these cute DIY melted snowman ornaments on Pinterest and thought they’d fit lovely with an invite to build a snowman!

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 We did mostly Target and Dollar Store finds for balloons, tablecloths, plates, napkins, hanging swirl decorations and the sign pictured above.

We also added an effect of Winter with some frozen marble balloons to line the walkway with, seeing as we had no snow here over the holidays.

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For snack we had these cute ‘Melted Olaf’ pudding cups with some blue lemonade we called ‘Frozen Waters’.

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For lunch I laid out some potluck-style items with little signs that read as follows:

  • “We finish each others…sandwiches” – assorted sandwiches
  • “Trolls” – meatballs
  • “Olaf’s Noses” – carrots and dip
  • “Sven’s Snacks” – cheese and crackers
  • “Olaf’s Arms” – pretzel sticks
  • “Frozen Hearts” – white chocolate dipped strawberries

The cake is always my favourite part. See, I got it in my head early on that I always wanted to make each child’s birthday cake, so it’s special for me. I feel like all of the birthday details and fuss will probably wash away in memories, but that the love that goes into these perfectly, imperfect cakes that their Momma makes will be felt forever {I’m cheesy like that!}.

Our Frozen Elsa cake was created using three round 8 inch chocolate cakes stacked and covered with blue icing. The snowflakes were made using white chocolate piped onto wax paper and set. The ice shards in behind Elsa were made using this recipe for blue rock candy.

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It’s fun to get to an age where kids can play games at parties! Here are a few that we enjoyed:

Pin the nose on Olaf

I free-handed an Olaf outline and cut out one carrot per child. The kids had fun spinning and trying to pin on Olaf’s nose!

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We had planned to be outside for some snowball toss and snowman building, but alas the weather would not bring snow! And so we played a snowball toss game using baskets and styrofoam balls, along with this alternative snowman activity.

Building Little Snow-Girls

Using toilet paper, button and carrot cut-outs, along with some scarves, the mom’s wrapped up their daughters and turned them into little wadding snowmen – it was pretty cute!

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|Loot| 

For lootbags, I found some plastic Frozen cups at the Dollar Store and we filled them with some blue jellybeans, a wand, some Frozen glitter temporary tattoos and a Frozen bracelet and necklace. They were wrapped in cellophane and tied with a note that said, “Thanks ‘snow’ much for coming”.

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Happy Birthday to my amazing Little Momma – we are so very proud of the girl you are becoming – may all of your wishes come true!

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And a BIG thank-you to all of our wonderful friends and family who helped us celebrate another year of loving you! xoxox

Painting with nature!

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Each week on our Bush Kinder walk, I try to have the kids focused on some aspect of nature, whether it be based on observing, listening, or collecting. Their favourite, by far, is collecting pieces of nature for future crafting!

This week I had them look for natural items that could be used as paintbrushes for a painting project. They collected leaves, pine needles, a pine cone and some tree bark (my rule is that all collecting must be from that which has fallen naturally to the forest floor, this way we are minimizing our eco-footprint, as well).

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We began by heading out to the yard and setting up with a canvas, a variety of fall paint hues, and our nature finds.

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Then we got to work experimenting with the varying paint strokes, choosing from the natural items we had found.

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Even our youngest artist enjoyed this activity!

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This was a great creative experience and our completed canvases were masterpieces, in my humble opinion!

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Turkey and Leaf Craft

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Do your kiddos enjoy picking endless fallen leaves, like dandelions in the Spring?

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Here is a fun and simple craft that will allow you to put some of their marvelous collections to good use!

I came across the idea on Pinterest, but there was no clear original poster, so I only feel it fair to comment that the idea was not my own!

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To Make your own Leaf-Turkey:

– Pre-cut your turkey pieces (head, wattles, beak and feet)

– Collect some leaves

– Have your child glue the pieces into place on a piece of construction paper

– Add leaves as the turkey’s feathers

– Don’t forget googly eyes!

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Even my youngest little artists enjoyed pushing the leaves onto the glue and moving the googly eyes around, although I had pre-glued their turkey pieces for them ahead of time!

Our finished turkeys will make cute Thanksgiving decorations or even holiday greetings for loved ones!

ABC Search & Find Sensory Bag

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Do have a tactile learner? Are you looking for a fun way to learn or review letters and letter sounds with your child(ren)? This ABC search & find sensory bag is quick and easy to make, you can even have your child assemble the bag contents to add to the excitement!

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To get started, all you will need is:

  • 1 large size ziploc bag
  • foam alphabet letters
  • glitter or confetti
  • 1 bottle of hair gel (we used blue, Dollar Store brand)
  • clear packing tape

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Begin by selecting an assortment of letters. Little Momma helped assemble this one and chose to include the letters of both she and her brother’s names, as well as a random handful of upper and lower case letters.

Add glitter and the bottle of hair gel. Zip the bag, combine contents and remove air. Then fold the top over once or twice and secure it firmly, to avoid accidental spillage, with the clear tape.

And voilà – you have a new resource to add to your learning repertoire, it can even be included in your busy bag stash as an independent activity for your older toddler, preschooler or kinder-aged child.

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To use, simply have your child find a letter, then depending on your child’s level, ask them to name the letter and/or sound, think of a word that begins with that letter, string together simple words or challenge them to find and identify specific letters. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy!