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Friday, September 30, 2016

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Sparkly Leaves Garland ~ Preschool Leaf Art

"Are we going to paint today?" my preschooler asked this morning. If she had found out what we were going to paint at that point, she would have been too excited to finish breakfast! I couldn't tell her, though, because - at that point - I didn't know either! I did know better than to disappoint her at the start of the day, so I kept my answer simple:

"Yep! Of course we'll paint today!"

My little princess loves to paint so much she would do it twice a day if I let her. On days when we're home I usually try to make sure she gets to paint at least once, and I knew we'd be home most of the day today. I did not know we would be doing this painting activity until we were outside.

Today was the first day all fall where the weather and our schedules were so perfect that we spent a couple hours playing outside! The kids explored everything from leaves to the stuff in the garage (that desperately needs organizing again). As a pile of HUGE dried leaves blew across the sidewalk, I realized exactly what we would be painting today!

The supplies are simple, but the result is really stunning...everyone loves our sparkly little leaf garland!

Simple Supplies: big leaves, paint, glitter, string or ribbon

We used acrylic paint and plastic ribbon, and it worked perfectly!

Easy How To:

1- Let your kiddos gather big leaves from outside.

2- Provide them with paints and brushes and let them get busy! Painting leaves is a TON of fun!
If you're feeling really brave, you can just set out the glitter too, but I like to help a little with that!

I'll be honest...I had to try this out! It turns out that painting leaves is incredibly fun!

3- Tie the leaves together and hang them up!

Ta da! Fun fall art that incorporates the outdoors, process art, leaves, and glitter! What more could any glitter-loving child ask for?!

Wait...I know! A book to go with her art project!! We've been reading leaf books this week, and have especially enjoyed some by Lois Ehlert. Try Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf  (affiliate link below) for some fall fun with your leaf painting!

Have you painted leaves yet?

Amazon Affiliate Links:

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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Pumpkin Egg Shakers ~ Preschool Music Time Prop

These pumpkin egg shakers were born after my 3-year old had a melt-down in a preschool music class.

Normally my kiddo loves our mommy & me preschool music class, but this week she got upset: When the teacher pulled out a bin of egg shakers, my preschooler went straight for her favorite color: purple. The second she had it, another kiddo grabbed it and ran away. It was so fast that nobody realized what had happened...I was watching her and I hadn't even seen! We all expected her to just take another color, but she was not having it. The scales of justice in the universe were tipped and she was not pleased.

I pulled her aside because she was starting to make a scene, and she explained to me what had happened. At this point, too much time had gone by and I didn't want to stop the whole class to get her shaker back. I suggested that when we get home she could make her own purple music shaker and use it whenever she wanted. She agreed (and I breathed a sigh of relief...battles of wills are not on my list of favorite activities)! 

I know you're wondering how pumpkin egg shakers and purple egg shakers get together? Well...when we sat down to make our egg shakers I saw a few orange plastic eggs in my pile (y'all still have plastic eggs from Easter too, right?)! As we taped up my kids' egg shakers, I thought...pumpkin egg shakers would be super fun! And we could pull them out with our pumpkin theme/pumpkin unit and our 5 Little Pumpkins book and when we make pumpkin pie and...yeah, I got excited!

Anyway, making your own normal egg shakers is as simple as putting a handful of rice in a plastic egg and duct taping it closed. I got the idea to add spoons as handles from my friend who runs the music class...she has a set of them, and the DIY-with-spoon-handle shakers are often more popular than the official egg shaker set. 

Unfortunately, with our duct tape DIY method, most of the orange was covered up. I thought about just gluing the eggs together, but decided the duct tape would hold up better for my kiddos. I know orange duct tape exists, but I didn't have any. However, I do have a lot of acrylic paint...and my daughter was already decorating her egg shaker...

So, the pumpkin egg shakers were born!

The easy supplies include plastic eggs, duct tape, plastic spoons, and paint.

Four quick steps:

1- Place a handful of rice in the egg and tape it closed.

2- As you tape, place the plastic spoons on as handles.

3- Paint the whole thing orange...ish! Pumpkins come in all colors, after all!

If you have a preschooler like mine, you might have sparkly glitter everywhere too.

4- Optionally, when the pumpkin is dry, add more black duct tape for jack-o-lantern features!

I also stuck a yarn "stem" on with some hot glue.
Ta da! Your pumpkin egg shakers are perfect for Halloween music/singing time!

You can use them to sing 5 Little Pumpkins or just rock out to your favorite Halloween or pumpkin music!  Try having your kiddos copy your rhythm or shake them with different parts of their body! Toss them in the middle of a play parachute and see if you can "shake" them with the parachute!

There are so many options...what would you do with them?  My daughter takes hers out (both the pumpkins and the purple sparkly shakers) to "play" them about every two hours!

Amazon Affiliate Links:

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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{FREE} Pumpkin Sorting Rhyming Words Game

Do your preschoolers like to rhyme words? Then you will love this {FREE} Pumpkin Sorting rhyming word packet!

All you have to do is print the two pages of pumpkins and rhyming words, cut them out, and you're ready to play!

How can you use them? Here are a few ideas:

* Set the pumpkins out face up and the eight cards out face down (you can choose if you want to spread them out or stack them up). Take turns drawing a card and placing it on the correct pumpkin!

* Glue or tape the pumpkins down to a folder to make a file folder game! Store the cards in an envelope.

* Use the cards to play a memory-style game where matches are made by rhyming words!

* Use the cards to play a Go Fish-style game where matches are made by rhyming words!

* Put the pieces on a metal door and hold them in place with magnets while you sort vertically!

* Use a hanging pocket chart to hold the pieces while you sort vertically!

How will you use them?

Happy Educating,

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Monday, September 26, 2016


Preschool Leaf Science Experiment

Preschool + Science Experiment + Leaves = Awesome Fall Activity!

Seriously, though, this has been one of my favorite preschool science experiments this year. It lets the kids explore and experiment on their own terms, while providing a rich investigative experience. It actually turned into a preschool STEM project too (more on that in a moment)!

Preschoolers are natural scientists, and I love encouraging their curiousity! About this time of year, they start noticing changes in the plants around them: some are changing colors, some are losing leaves, and some don't seem to change at all! I answer their questions about leaves and change as often as they come up, but sometimes, they just need to get up close and investigate the differences for themselves!

This leaf science experiment takes a tiny bit of planning (you need about two minutes of prep the day before the activity), but it is so worth the time to watch your child experiment with the set-up.  Here's the easy how-to:

1- (The Day Before): Place some leaves in 1- inches of water and place them in the freezer. Use some fresh leaves that you pick, and some dry leaves you find on the ground. I just put them on a plate.

2- (Right Before "Science Time"): Set up some freshly picked leaves, dry leaves from the ground, and frozen leaves from the freezer on cookie sheets for your children to investigate. (You can even send the kids outside on a leaf hunt while you arrange everything else.) Provide warm water and pipettes (to melt the ice) and magnifying glasses (to get a better look)!

3- Let your children get to work! You never know what they will discover! My kids wondered why the leaves from the ground were so crispy (because they didn't have water in them), and had a WONDERFUL time "melting" the frozen leaves.

We learned that both water and ice can act like a little magnifying glass on the leaf! They let you see the different parts of the leaves better...like the "tubes" in the leaf (great chance to talk about xylem, phloem, and plant food and water)!

We observed that the green from the leaves (chlorophyll) was dissolving into the water as it melted! We will be revisiting this soon because it is a great tie-in to why leaves change colors, and it totally deserves its own post!

We also built some little leaf ice towers!

So how did this experiment become a STEM project? STEM activities incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math. They can be oh, so simple too! Here's how each area was included in this experiment:

Science: experimenting with melting the ice, comparing the leaves in different states, and hypothesizing about how the leaves and ice would behave when they tinkered with them.
Technology: Using pipettes and magnifying glasses
Engineering: Building towers with the ice and leaves
Math: Qualitatively comparing sizes and predicting the effect of gravity on the ice tower pieces

It is worth noting that I designed this activity as a science experiment/investigation, but as the kids explored, they chose to build the towers. They created their own STEM challenge!

We did this preschool science experiment to go with the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. {Amazon Affiliate Link below:}

This week the Virtual Book Club for Kids is talking about leaves! We are sharing leaf themed activities to go with Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert!

We would LOVE to have you join the Virtual Book Club for Kids too! Just read the book and do a leaf themed activity with your kids! Be sure to join us at the VBC Facebook page too! If you want more details about the VBC (including a list of upcoming books), click here.

More LEAF Resources:

And be sure to check out all these other leaf themed activities that are perfect for preschoolers:

Learning About Letters with Leaves & Falling Leaves Song – Kori at HomeBeginning Sounds Activity: Leaf Sticker Tree- Growing Book by BookLetter Recognition Game with Free Leaf PrintableLeaf Name Sticky Wall – Inspiration LaboratoriesLearn to Write Your Name with ‘Letter Man’ – Chickadee LitWrite Your Name In Leaves – Adventures of Adam
Fall Loose Parts Sensory Invitation  – My Storytime Corner
Fall Leaf Auditory Processing Activities – Sugar Aunts
Preschool Leaf Science Experiment  – Preschool Powol Packets
Simple Preschool Science: Leaf Matching Activity – School Time Snippets
Giant Colorful Watercolor Fall Leaves for Kids – Toddler Approved
Basic Math with Fall Leaves for Preschoolers  – Views From a Step Stool
Leaf Color Sorting – My Bored Toddler
Leaf Art ~ Prewriting Patterns for Fall – Rainy Day mum
Leaf Tracing Pre-Writing Activity  – Books and Giggles
Leaf puppets – messy little monster  – Messy Little Monster
Follow the leaves: Cardinal Directions and Map Skills for kids  – Extremely Good Parenting

Learning Fun With Leaves – Clare’s Little Tots
Number Leaf Scavenger Hunt – – The Educators’ Spin On It
Preschool Printable Counting Leaves -CraftCreateCalm
Amazon Affiliate Links:

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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