For Kids Who Can’t Write Their Letters Yet – Building Letters {Part 2}

If you didn’t get a chance to read Part 1 {Click here} – go back and skim through it now so you aren’t wondering what in the world I am talking about.

I didn’t even know at the time that that post was a “Part ONE” but when a Pre-k teacher asked me if I could turn it into a printable, I decided to stay up all night (like the night owl I am) and make it happen.



Letter Puzzles Screen Shot



So, here is how this HUGE set works…
You can have your little one cut up the movable shapes that make up the letters or you can cut them yourself and laminate them, but either way….

I made this so that you can work on a letter a day if you want to OR you can have a bunch of the shapes out and about and let your littles explore with combining them to make the letters (or numbers).

You get an E for effort either way… see what I did there?

The first page acts like a little reference.

I am including this set in my Members Page.

If you EVER have problems with getting locked out of the site or losing your password e-mail me Jessica (at) the mommy teacher (dot) com so that I can take care of it!

Thanks!

Mommy Needs to Journal

The other day I was talking with a good friend of mine (who is also a mom of young children) about how we used to spend time in the mornings journaling. (I can’t imagine what could be distracting us nowadays. Hmm.)

I really miss it.

I miss that time to reflect on what God is teaching me.

I miss that time to be still and quiet.

I miss the slow sips of coffee that I actually enjoyed.

But, I wouldn’t trade it for the joy my kids bring to me every morning. The pure, wild, joy they bring.

My friend mentioned that Sally Clarkson wrote a blog post once about journaling with her children every day, and I made a decision to do the same.

A week went by.

No journaling.

The lovely picture of journaling with my kids was still in my head.

Then, the Sunday morning service was about Re-discovering growth.  Colossians 2:6-7

This verse made me think back to when I first started to journal.

Now I wanted to journal, about how I used to journal.

At this point, I didn’t even just want to journal anymore,  I needed to journal.

After reading Casey’s post this past weekend about purposing worship with the kids every day I knew I needed to stop thinking about it, and just GO get the dang journals.


journals from dollar general


So, when I came back from the store, it was really exciting that my kids actually LOVED their journals and wanted to journal right away. “I’m so exciting!”  was the two year old’s reaction.

We journaled about the Sunday morning message – to WALK in Jesus in the way which we have been taught / are learning to do.

 

I traced the kids feet in their journals and I wrote the letters spelling out WALK inside their footprint.


tracing foot


I described to them how I make a cross while I drew one (it’s like a big rectangle “T” with one rectangle going up and down and one going across.)

I wrote Jesus’ name while singing the letters in his name to the tune “Bingo” and then gave them the pens and told the kids to write on top of my writing and/or to draw anything they want to on their own personal journal page.


journal entry about walking with Jesus


While they did this, I jotted down my own reflection in my journal.

I would have liked this to last 30 minutes, but I was content with two.  I finished the entry later that night after the kids went to bed.

I hope we keep it up.

Leave a comment if you have any ideas for journaling with your kids or tips for finding time to journal yourself.

 

How Does Your Garden Grow? 5 Garden Activities



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Last Mother’s Day, my kids gave me a great planter for us to start a home garden!



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My husband works at a factory and they frequently get shipments of equipment that come in these long crates that are perfect for starting a garden (especially because they are free).  Keep your eyes peeled for wooden crates and pallets and you can get free planters as well!

This year we have a few more!



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Now, this is a little intimidating for me because I do NOT have a green thumb… but my husband is a little bit better at watering…and my kids are REALLY good at watering… a little too good as they sometimes over water.

So many early childhood teachers will grow plants in the classroom for kids to learn the parts of the plant, how to care for a plant, and what plants need to grow: soil, water, sun.  Here are a few activities for you to do at home to teach your kids about growing plants if you have or plan on starting your own garden at home.

1.  Journal:  Have your kids document plant growth.

  • Pre-schoolers – model drawing sketches of what your plants look like each week and then give them a crayon for them to do the same (may not look like much, but they will at least think they are drawing a plant).  Introduce vocabulary such as plant, green, grow, sun, soil
  • Pre-K – have them add words to their drawings (even if their words are just a mix up of letters – write what they are trying to spell underneath).  Vocabulary:  the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant
  • Kinder – write a sentence or two describing the plant.  Vocabulary and discussion:  the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant, why plants are important
  • 1st grade and above – a paragraph (minimum) documenting any changes they may see, how long they watered, what time of the day they watered, etc.  Vocabulary and Discussion:  the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant, describe why plants are important, how they reproduce, nutrition and the benefits of eating home grown foods

2.  Predict:  Have your kids predict what is going to happen throughout the summer with their plants, use your journal from above to help document, then calculate results by a certain date at the end of the summer.

  • Calendar Math:  Using a summer calendar, mark the day you plant your plants.  Have your kids each choose a different date in which they predict they can start picking their ripe produce.
  • Measuring:  Using a ruler, guess the size of the produce and how tall the plants will become by the end of the summer.  Have them draw this out on poster paper to compare at the end of the summer.
  • Counting:  Predict the amount of produce each type of plant will produce.
  • Science – Weather:  predict the number of rainy days versus sunny days
  • Comparison:  predict what type of plant will produce the biggest/smallest, most/least amount, greenest, etc. produce

3.  Experiment:  Get several seedlings that are the same type and are all similar in size.  Experiment with different amounts of sunlight or soil type or watering schedule (choose one) to see what is the optimal amount for that particular plant.  Plant several seedlings in each of the different conditions to get the best average outcome.  And, go back to the first activity:  journal 🙂

4.  Create a Cookbook:  As your plants are growing, decide as a family what you are going to use your plants for and create a family cookbook together!  Take pictures of your growing plants to include in the “ingredients” section of each recipe.

BONUS:  Include a raw versus cooked taste test of each fruit/vegetable to include that 5th sense that we often don’t get to use in a classroom.

5.  Dissect the Plants:

  • Science:  learn about the different plant parts including the parts you don’t see… inside the stem, the roots, inside the fruit and flowers.  When you are finished, use the roots, stem, leaves, flowers to make art on a poster board.
  • Math:  Compare/Contrast the different types of plants:  length, leaf shape, fruit, root length and thickness and number of roots
  • Art:  Create leaf prints by placing a piece of paper on top of the leaves and using the edge of a crayon to etch the shape of the leaf.  Draw the type of produce next to each leaf.

BONUS:  One of my friends started a private Facebook group for some of her friends who wanted to start a home garden.  On it we are sharing pictures and knowledge with each other and when the produce is ripe, we will be having garden picking parties!  It is nice to see what everyone else is growing (and these ladies know way more than I do about gardening so it’s helpful too)!  I encourage you to start a similar group for your friends with green (or slightly unripened) thumbs.

It is so wonderful seeing how excited my kids are to watch our plants grow!  Right now, we just have bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, but we hope to fill our other planters soon!

Leyson and I tore a paper plate in half to draw our measurements of the peppers (paper plates are sturdier than sheets of paper thus easier to measure the peppers on).  We used a marker to draw a line on each side of the paper and later use a ruler to measure from line to line.  We numbered our peppers 1, 2 and 3.  Measure them week by week so you can see how much they grow in one week.



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How does your garden grow???  How have you involved your children in your garden?

How To Survive The Waiting Room {Printable}

You know those days when you walk back to your car after an all-day-event of check-ups or appointments and you feel completely drained?

I have had plenty of those days.

But, I *think* I cracked a little code the other days when I went to the doctor with all three of my three and under to get flu shots and I walked out of the office wishing I had passed out business cards haha.

There are plenty of factors that marked the success of that day:

1) God’s good grace 🙂

2) Going early enough in the morning that I wasn’t torturing tired children

3) Bringing plenty of snacks to keep my little ones tummies happy

4) Staying Calm and Positive

and

5) Being Prepared!!

I was wearing my baby in the moby wrap, and I packed clip boards and a small dollar tree container of crayons in the diaper bag.

While I was filling out paperwork I put the clip boards and crayons on the floor and said something like: “The doctors need to know who we are and why we are here so we are going to write it down for them.”


Preschooler Activity for Waiting Room


While I was writing my information down I would just ask my preschooler questions like:

“Okay, they want to know your name.  What is your name?  What are the letters in your name?”  Simple questions.

He would answer me and then scribble his lines and circles.  But lines and circles mean that he is learning that we can communicate through print so every little moment counts.

This little waiting room success moment inspired me to make this for our next visit:



Waiting Room Printable



I know the whole space to draw a picture for why they at the doctor leaves room for T.M.I. but I am so curious to see what your kids “think” they are at an appointment for.

Please share on our Facebook Page !!

The Meaning Behind Christmas Decor {Printable}

Today is the last of my 24 Days of Printables!  If you missed out you can check out the Facebook Album & you’ll have plenty to do over the holiday break.

I wanted to introduce the meaning of our Christmas decorations and when I googled the meanings there were no visuals for kids to make easy associations SO I thought that this task would be perfect for my last Christmas printable for 2013:



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It’s super kid-friendly so I hope you enjoy it!

 

Christmas Graphics: The Mommy Teacher 2013

Nativity Graphics: @Charlotte Braddock 2013



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