Daily Devotions: Week 3

Thanks for joining us on our daily devotions journey!  I gotta be honest, doing this daily with our kids, our activities are hit or miss.  My kids are not always cooperative, my activities are not always the most exciting, and yes, apparently looking back at the week, we completely forgot to do it on Monday!  I didn’t even realize that until I started writing this post!  So, hang in there!  Bible study is not going to be perfect every day – some days it will be so far from it, but your children are still hearing God’s word and are seeing you set an example for daily obedience.

If you are just now following us, here is a recap:

Week 1

Week 2

Day 1:  Messy Days

“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”  – Psalm 105:4

It can be hard to “visualize” Jesus when we have never met him face to face.  For kids, this can be hard for them to understand that He was born into this world like you and me yet, though he no longer walks as we do on this Earth, we can still have this amazing relationship with Him.

Ask your kids to describe Jesus and what He looks like.

Google some images of famous paintings and images of Jesus.  Talk about the likenesses between them and how this is what some believe He looked like when He was here.  This will help your children visualize Him when they talk to Him.

I know I like to visualize Jesus holding my hands when I pray.  It helps me to feel more connected to Him.  Describe to your children what it feels like to feel His presence.

Pray with them and ask them to visualize Him when they do.

Day 2:  Autopilot

“Your world is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  – Psalm 119:105

Today, we made compasses – simple compasses.  I drew a circle and cut out arrows for them to glue “point the way to Jesus.”

I scaffolded the activity for the different ages of my boys.



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“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”  Psalm 63:7-8

Day 3:  The Light of the Son

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it.  The glory of God is its light, and the Lamb is the city’s lamp.” – Revelation 21:23

We found a box that just so happened to have a hole big enough for the kids to peer into.  “What do you see?”  Well, there’s really not much to see inside of a dark box… it’s dark and empty.  We saw nothing.  Without Jesus in our lives, everything would be dark like the inside of the box.



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I opened the box and put a flashlight inside and closed it again.  We looked through the hole once more and saw the entire inside of the box!  Jesus lights up our world so we can see and live and so our spirits will be filled with light.



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Take this a step further if you have prep time before your devotion begins:  draw or tape pictures to the inside of the box so that when you turn on the light inside your kids can see what they couldn’t see when it was dark.



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“Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.  You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”  – Psalm 4:6-8

Day 4:  Before You Work

“Depend on the Lord in whatever you do.  Then your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

Today we made a challenge for ourselves to remember to pray before we get started in the morning.  Write that challenge down and post it somewhere, maybe on the kids’ bedroom door, so that you all can see it first thing before you start your day.  It is one thing to say we are going to do this, and intend on doing this, and quite another to follow through.  So set an alarm on your phone if you need a daily reminder and teach the kids to come gather around so you can pray over them for the day.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples:  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens; They do not sow or reap they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

Day 5:  The God Who Forgives

Practice role playing forgiveness with your kids.  If you have multiple children, have them role play this back and forth: one who makes a mistake and the other forgives.  Pray with your children and teach them to ask for forgiveness and also to ask for help to be able to forgive others.  Just as God forgives us, we need to forgive others, too.

“Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?  Where can I run from you? . . . If I rise with the sun in the east, and settle int he west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me. With your right hand you would hold me.”  – Psalm 139:7-10

– Genesis 16:7-14

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

 

 

Tracing The ABC’s Book

Because Sean Patrick is so into tracing right now (and because he is a perfectionist), I decided to make him a book that he could use dry-erase markers and Mr. Clean magic erasers to practice his tracing over and over again without getting frustrated about markings on his paper (courtesy of his little sister).



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I printed the pages of my tracing book onto card stock and laminated them with my inexpensive laminator that I bought at WalMart.

 



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We work on it a little each day and I encourage him to do whatever letters he would like to practice making, but I always try to make the formation fun for him.   For example, when we were writing “A” I told him to slide down this slide (the left slanted line) then to slide down that slide (the right slanted line), and then to climb across the monkey bars.  He said exactly what I said as he traced A the next few times.  And for lowercase “a” we rode around the merry-go-round and then climbed down the ladder.



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“Slide down, slide down, climb across the monkey bars”

If you don’t have a laminator and you don’t want to get it laminated you can also just print it and let your little one trace the pages individually with crayons 🙂



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/c/ /c/ crawl around the /c/ /c/ curve to see the /c/ /c/ cow

CLICK HERE to purchase this Tracing Book individually from my TeachersPayTeachers Store.

OR  Click HERE to become a member – get unlimited access to ALL The Mommy Teacher Printables!

 

Backwards Writing



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“Look, Mom!  I spelled ‘James!'”

I have had many parents come to me worried that their preschool or kindergarten aged child may be dyslexic* after he or she continues to spell and write words/letters backwards, upside down, in mirror image, or mix up letters within a word.

Let me say now that this writing behavior is totally normal at this stage in your child’s pre-writing and pre-reading development and in most cases* is not indicative of a learning disability.

Let’s think about this…

We, the smarter-than-the-average-preschooler mommy teachers, see a triangle.  3 sides + 3 points = triangle no matter how you look at it.



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(Technically that last one is a pyramid says my 5year old, but you get my point.)

What, then, is the letter A?



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It is but a mere visual representation of a sound in a word… a symbol… or simply, a shape, not unlike our friend, the triangle.  We recognize this shape no matter the direction, font, size or color.  Our brains are hardwired to group these similar shapes together so we can recognize them even though they may look slightly different than the  Times New Roman  capital letter A.

Our kids are naturally doing the same exact thing which is why they can still find the letter A in a pile of letters, even though some of the As are upside down.



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To help teach correct directionality (the direction in which we read and write in English), use your index finger to guide reading: top-bottom, left-right.  This is a learned skill and will become ingrained through repetition and practice.  In Leyson’s case, if he knew that he should have spelled the letters out from left to right, the word would have actually spelled JAMES instead of SEMAJ – but with a sideways S and an E for an M… babysteps.

When Leyson spelled James’ name backwards, I then modeled how to spell his own name as he said the letters out loud to me.  Leaving those letters in place, I then pulled a second set of letters for his name and asked him to put them in order directly under the one I had done.

“Which letter comes first?  Which comes second?”  Etc.



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To fix his sideways S, I lined up a few of the same letter and laid them out right side, upside down and sideways and we chose the correct letter.  This taught him that it DOES matter which way a letter is written… BAM!  Epiphany.

Back to his spelling of James’ name:

Me:  “Now, if we spelled the name LEYSON with the L over here on the left, what is different about how you spelled JAMES?”



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Leyson:  “I used an upside down E as an M!”

Epiphany x2.

*  Dyslexia is a Developmental Reading Disorder (DRD) which is one of the most common learning disabilities.  A small percentage of those with this type of DRD actually see and write letters backwards or upside down.  Most often dyslexia is diagnosed within the critical beginning reader years (kindergarten – 2nd grade) if  a child of normal intelligence still has difficulties with visual and/or auditory reading comprehension, spelling and phonological awareness.

If after age appropriate and developmentally appropriate reading and writing strategies have been correctly taught to your school-aged child and you find he or she is still struggling with reading, begin to log your perception of your child’s reading abilities and share it with your child’s teacher or doctor so they can determine if your child may need further evaluation.

Summer Break Curriculum: Ocean Life



1st month of summer



Summer break is about halfway over here in Louisiana!  If you are just now joining our summer quest to never hear the phrase, “I’m bored,” please go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 of our summer learning curriculum and activity schedule.  On the right hand column, you will see all of the summer schedule posts neatly organized for you to have quick access!

WEEK 5:  OCEAN LIFE

So I apologize for the delay in the post about Ocean Life. I’d love to give you my reasons (my computer crashed so I’m having to sneak around to borrow one and we went on a vacation) but no one wants to hear those!

The kids had a great time learning about Ocean Life despite the fact that they never really showed too much interest in Finding Nemo – I’ve tried… what’s not to like about it?  But as you all know, kids tend to have their own opinions about things no matter how much we try to mold their little minds ;-).

A

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nywho, our favorite activity from the week was our Ocean Life PUPPET THEATER!  This activity was super cheap and was instant entertainment for DAYS!  It is also a great way to encourage storytelling which increases skills in reading comprehension, writing and illustrating stories (this skill starts as early as kindergarten) and oral communication.

Materials:

Painters Tape, poster board, scissors, long skewers/craft sticks, 1 blue and 1 yellow plastic table cloth, black sharpie marker

To make the puppets, I used a foam board.  YOU, however, should NOT use a foam board.  

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That sucker was a pain to cut out all of the fishy shapes with all of the twists and turns.  I ended up breaking most of the fish when cutting them out and had to play “doctor” to fix them all back together (great tie-in to our Community lesson).  Just use 1 white poster board and it will save you time, energy, and unnecessary frustration.



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I drew the fish onto my board using a black sharpie.  The kids painted the fish and then went down for their naps (good timing on my part so they didn’t have to wait for the paint to dry).  I cut the fish out and taped the long skewers to the back of the fish.  (I ran out of skewers and used Popsicle sticks for the starfish, crab and crawfish* since they don’t swim too far from the bottom of the ocean anyway).

*I understand that crawfish are not normally found in the ocean, but as they have been raised in South Louisiana, my kids insisted we have a crawfish in our puppet show.



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After nap time, the kids could not WAIT to put on the puppet show!  My daughter’s room was the PERFECT theater because 1. she had the audience (stuffed animals galore) and what show would be complete without an audience? and 2. her closet made the perfect stage for the show!

We took the blue table cloth and hung it with tape from the clothes rod, and the 2nd table cloth (we used blue and taped yellow tissue paper to make “sand” but just using a yellow table cloth would be so much easier) was taped across the doorway of the closet at door knob level. This gave the kids enough space to crouch under and behind the yellow (sand) curtain and in front of the blue (ocean) curtain.

James had the idea to make a sign with the title and performers names and hung it on the closet doors for all of the audience (stuffed animals) to see.  He also had the idea to use one of our lamps as the spotlight and designated his Mimi to be the lighting technician.

There are several different ways you can perform plays with your kids!

1.  REENACTMENT:  You can take a story that your kids know really well (a great one for this theme would be The Rainbow Fish or even Finding Nemo) and  your kids can reenact the story.  To simplify this, you can make sequencing cards for your kids to act out:

1.  Nemo and his dad lived in an anemone.

2.  Nemo swims out to sea and is captured by the scuba diver.

3.  Nemo’s dad and Dori search for Nemo and meet a lot of friends on the way.

4.  Nemo makes his great escape.

5.  Nemo and his dad are reunited.

2.  MAD LIB:  You write a short story out and leave blanks for the kids to fill in.

Once upon a time there was a fish named name.  He was color and color.  His best friends was name the ocean animal.  Together they liked to activity.

3.  NARRATE:  You can narrate the story and the kids can move and talk for the puppets.

4.  STORY WRITING:  This is great for older kids!  Your kids write the story and include a beginning, middle and end!

5.  TAKE TURNS WRITING THE STORY:  Each person adds a new adventure to the story!   Things can get a little crazy here!

Person 1:  “Once upon a time there was a fish named Bob.”

Person 2:  “Bob loved to swim to the middle of the ocean.”

Person 3:  “He made lots of friends along the way.”

Person 1:  “His best friend was a starfish named All Star.”

Person 2:  “All Star loved to play basketball in the water.”

As for my kids?  They preferred to #6, JUST PLAY!   Sit back and see what your kids come up with!  This is my favorite and each of my kids had such different ideas for the puppets that they each took turns playing puppeteer and audience member.  They loved watching what the other came up with and would build off of each other’s stories!  I love how these little minds work!

James’ story was great (says the biased mommy)!  It was about a little fish who met a shark who wanted to eat him.  All of his fishy friends decided to go talk to the shark to stop him from eating their friend.  They offered him a peach instead.  The shark enjoyed the peach so much that he never ate a fish again and the little fish and the shark became best friends.  The play was called “The Fish, the Shark and the Peach” (fitting).

Leyson’s story took place in the river (Mr. 3-year-old wanted to create his own setting) and his fish spent the whole time swimming up and down the river.  And then the rest of the time his play sounded very similar to big brother’s play.

CRAFT TIME FAIL:



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Another activity we did was a near-complete failure.  I say near-complete because the kids could care less that it didn’t work as it was intended.

My kids and I ATTEMPTED to make sensory-bag fish bowls.  We cut out a hole in a paper plate and glued it to another paper plate – then decorated the plates, of course.  We filled plastic zip-lock baggies with blue hand soap (gel probably would have worked better) and put small plastic fish inside.  Then we placed the bags inside of the paper plate hole and made “fish bowls,” but yeah, they didn’t work.  The kids DID enjoy squishing the fish around in the sensory bags!  But then they started leaking because Mommy bought the cheap bags.  ::womp womp::

Here is the craft that gave me the idea to make a sensory bag, but I should have just stuck to these directions instead:

“Read it again, Mom” has so many great book ideas, songs and crafts for this theme!

Some Of My Favorite YouTube Playlists

Whether, like me, you are somewhat homebound with a newborn, or you have other reasons that you need to get your kids moving (rain, heat, an injury, etc.). I wanted to share some great movement videos for young children.  My kids spend at least half an hour enjoying some of the videos I have shared below.

We only have one TV in our house, but it happens to be one that has “Apps” like Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, etc.  This makes our den my all-purpose room for sure.

My favorite playlists for MOVEMENT are:

PattyShukla’s action and movement songs

Have Fun Teaching’s fitness songs

and for

Sing -Along :

Super Simple Song’s “Easy-to-teach, Easy-to-learn Songs for Young Learners”

Harry Kindergarten’s class songs

If you subscribe to any of these channels you will discover LOTS of great educational songs too.  Have Fun Teaching has some really fun songs that makes associations with the letter formation of the letters, the sounds, and words that start with that sound.  And of course Sesame Street is so great too!

PLEASE share your favorites in a comment so I can add some new playlists 🙂

My kindergarteners loved these videos so don’t rule them out until you put them on for your kids.  They are great to coincide with learning about the body to reinforce body parts and the importance of exercise.

Here is a little clip of my little ones and a friend enjoying “Jump” by Patty Shukla.  Yes, we let them jump on the couches for this one…. I know some moms are going crazy, but ya know…. To each his own 🙂



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