April 2013 archive

Rainy Day

I had planned to run errands today, but alas, the thunderstorm has dampened my plans.  (Under the definition of “parent” you can find the word “flexible” in bold print.)  You know that opening scene of The Cat in the Hat where the two kids are just staring out of the window?  Yes.  That was us today.  Even me.



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I brought some paper and markers over to the window for us to draw what we saw outside – a simple activity that throws in some drawing skills, vocabulary, sight words, colors, descriptors and more.

Mommy Teacher:  “What color is the sky today?”

Without thinking, Leyson said, “Blue!”  But then he looked more closely… “Das not blue!”

I explained to him that the clouds are covering the sun and they are filled with water which made the sky look gray.

Mommy Teacher:  “And when the clouds fill up with water, the water drips out.  That’s called rain!  When it is raining this hard and you hear the thunder, that is called a storm.”

I drew  a picture of some gray clouds and had him do the same on his paper.  Then we each drew rain falling from the clouds, just like we saw outside.  I wrote the word “storm” on my paper, and he did the same.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Because it is!  The activities you do with your child do not have to be Pinterest-worthy; they just have to be age-appropriate and fun!

Drawing a picture of what you see and what you are talking about in conversation helps reinforce what you are teaching.  Prompt your child to talk about what he/she is drawing.  You will need to model both the drawing and the conversation…

Mommy Teacher:  “To draw a cloud I am going to make a lot of humps.  On the top it looks like lowercase m’s and on the bottom it looks like lowercase w’s.  I am drawing gray clouds like we see outside.  Can you draw a gray cloud?”

I told Leyson that when the sun comes out, we may be able to see a rainbow.  He decided we should also draw pictures of a yellow sun and a rainbow with lots of colors.  I wrote each of the words at the top and he did the same on his papers.  We talked about the different colors too.  He then also decided that we needed to draw one more picture of a cloud and we wrote the word cloud.

Mommy Teacher’s pictures…



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Leyson’s pictures…



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I am going to keep these pictures up for a few days so we can continue to talk about the weather.  We are experiencing a huge temperature drop too so I am sure we will be talking about warm and cold.  With an older child you can explain about cool fronts and warm fronts and check out some weather maps online!

Here are some great interactive websites for your older kids:

The best thing about a rainy day?  It’s perfect nap weather!  Nighty-night!

Easter Egg Letter Hunt



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Anyone else suffering from TMEEIMH (Too Many Easter Eggs in my House) Syndrome?  They are everywhere you look at my house – despite my best efforts to sneak a handful at a time into the trash.  But, don’t throw them away just yet!  These plastic eggs can actually serve as practical learning manipulatives for you!  My old teacher self used to actually buy dozens of them each year to use in my classroom for letter matching and rhyming words (I tell you, Jess and I share a brain because she does the same thing, too).

Leyson’s favorite word to read is “Leyson.”  Well, that and “pizza.”  In a past post I wrote about Busy Bags, I talked a little bit about the significance and  progression of a child learning to read and spell his/her name:

WHAT’S IN A NAME?:

Kids are so funny when it comes to learning how to spell their own names.  Most often kids learn how to spell their names before they completely understand the concept that letters make words when put together.  Take my son Leyson, for example; anytime he sees a word that starts with an L, he says it spells Leyson.  He thinks he owns the letter L.  The same goes for the letters E, Y, S, O and N… he owns them all.  You see, for young toddlers, they will not understand that the ORDER of letters actually makes a difference when spelling words.

Even in my kindergarten classroom, students who knew how to spell their names would sometimes slip into the idea of “owning” all the letters in their name and would write their names out of order.  LUIS would spell his name UILS… still thinking that it spelled the same thing.  Even more common would be for kids to write their names backwards (SIUL)… and several, get this, would write their names in mirror image!  I can’t even do that!  All of these are totally normal progressions when your child is learning how to spell his/her name…

Well, here’s another activity that not only teaches the letters of your child’s name, but also teaches the ORDER of the letters – and, of course, we are using Easter eggs because, well, who doesn’t love a good egg hunt?



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I first wrote Leyson’s name and underneath each letter I wrote the numbers 1-6.  I did the same thing on another sheet of paper, but this time, cut out each letter and number.

We used 6 eggs… the same number of letters in Leyson’s name (no, that’s not a coincidence).  I stuffed each egg with 1 letter and the corresponding number and then I hid the eggs around the room while Leyson was in the other room.  Then, the hunt was on!



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Once he found a letter and number inside of his egg, he had to tell me what he found:

Leyson:  “It’s the letter L and the number 1!”

Mommy Teacher:  “That’s right!  Because the letter L is the FIRST letter in your name!  L is the FIRST letter in Leyson!”

See that right there?  Right there in the bold, italicized, CAPITALIZED print?  See how I threw in some number recognition and some sequencing vocabulary?  Sneaky, sneaky, Mommy Teacher!

Now, the reason I have his name and numbers written on

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another piece of paper  is, yes, so he can see the ORDER of his name, but to also see which way the shape of each letter is supposed to go.    Kids will recognize the SHAPE of the letter no matter which direction the letter/number is facing, so it’s important to also show them that they have to turn their letters/numbers around.

Reminder:  a letter, number, symbol is a SHAPE much like a square is a shape.  That’s why it’s so easy to confuse d, b, q, and p – they all have the same shape but are just turned different ways.  But, I digress…

Next, I took away Leyson’s cheat sheet and asked him to spell his name.



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Juuuust as I anticipated.  So I brought out our language from the first activity…

Mommy Teacher:  “What is the FIRST letter in Leyson?”

And he grabbed that L and put it underneath his scrambled name.



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And the whole time he was singing his very own name song saying each letter of his name to the tune of “Bingo.”  It really is magic how quickly they learn things when you tie a tune to it!

What other activities can you do with your Easter eggs?  Sorting?  Counting?  Compare/Contrast?  The learning possibilities are endless!

Mommy Teacher Spring Break

I remember when spring break used to be a week at the beach, party cups, and friends for days.
Now, my spring break (as you are going to see) still includes friends, but it revolves around my kids and not my suntan…. But who needs a suntan anyway right? …. Well, since you asked….I do.  But, I am 7 months pregnant and it was actually a chilly week so, that wouldn’t have happened anyway.
I have to admit,  ever since I went back to working full time … I miss my kids so much that I SAVOR my time with them even more.

With a week of just me and my angels, I took the liberty of jumping on board of EVERY playdate adventure I caught wind of, and here is what my crazy-busy, awesome week looked like:

Monday – Zoo DAY

Packed the wagon, clipboards, zoo checklist, and lunches…



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After nap time, we even made it to the neighborhood school playground and nearby park too… we really made the most of our day outside!



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Tuesday – Exporing Downtown Baton Rouge

We packed our lunches, umbrella strollers, and blankets and headed to a trolley stop in Downtown Baton Rouge.   We started singing “The Wheels on the Trolley…” when my baby started crying it was perfect timing for “The Baby on the trolley goes wah wah wah” haha



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We took a little stair-step picture of the kids from tallest to shortest in front of the State Capitol…



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After venturing to the top of the State Capitol, we had a picnic out front as we waited for the trolley to swing back around…



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Wednesday – Fire Station Tour and Easter Egg Hunt Party

My friend set up a local Fire Station Tour where we maxed out the place with the youngest crew possible…



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Sean Patrick was intrigued, and then scared, when the firefighter did his suit-up demonstration…



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The Easter Egg Hunt Party we went to was way too fun for a simple, last-minute thing my friend threw together….



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I’m still loving the bandana-liner idea from last year.



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Thursday – Louisiana Arts and Science Museum

The LASM in downtown Baton Rouge has a great little discovery depot that was so developmentally appropriate for my under 3 year olds.  It has so many age-appropriate learning stations for them to explore…



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Friday – Bass Pro Shop and Sunrise Assisted Living

We made our way to Bass Pro Shop in Denham Springs, La to take pictures with the Easter bunny…. only to get the memo a little late that we would miss the bunny all-together (live and learn!)  We found plenty to do…



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After “Driving” the stationary truck out front Sean Patrick “Rode” the statue of a horse too…



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Right before he picked out a fishing pole (that he uses every day!)



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Then, we went to visit my mom (who has Alzheimers) and decided to take a picture with the Bunny Decor at the Assisted Living Residence since we missed the bunny at bass pro…



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Weekend Fun – Crawfish Boils and Easter Celebration at the Camp

Finally, we wrapped up the weekend with two crawfish boils (dont be alarmed…below is a fake, plastic crawfish)…



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Took a family pic (minus smiles) …



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And went fishin in the lakefront (in the closest thing to a swimsuit) with the pole from bass pro…



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And I wouldn’t trade ONE minute of it…. for my old Spring Break tan 😉

I hope that if you are on Spring Break right now with your kids off of school that you are able to join forces with your friends and come up with some play dates… it makes for such memorable moments!



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