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Thursday, October 28, 2010

* Not-So-Scary Play-Dough Monsters!


 My girls and I had fun making these  Not-So-Scary Play-Dough Monsters
with some  white pony (craft) beads (teeth) Googly Eyes (in assorted sizes)
 and bits of Pipe Cleaners (chenille craft stems)


Such a simple and fun craft for a quiet after-school activity,
independent classroom center, halloween party, or weekend morning. 


We used our  yummy-smelling, homemade
Click HERE for the Recipe!

These would be fun to make as a more 
permanent version with, salt-dough, Crayola's Model Magic or Sculpey's Pluffy Clay.


This activity (and many more) can be found in my 


Happy Monster Making!
fondly,
pink and green mama,
MaryLea

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

* Fall Nature Table with a Halloween Twist!

"C" has been spending a lot of time rearranging and playing with the  fall "nature" table lately. 


Note: Nature is in quotations because we seem to add a lot of toys
and plastic -- eek! to our "Nature" table!!
Oh well, the point of the table is for it  to belong to the girls, not me, 
and for them to make it their own.


Even though our table is inspired by the  Waldorf tradition of a seasonal nature table 
(or corner) we do what works for our family.


That means we have a combination of natural, homemade, 
and man-made (even plastic!)  goodies on our table. 
We seem to have a HalloweenPumpkinAcorn,  LeavesSquirrel theme going on!


"C" also loves our tiny Haunted House on our front table. 
I love listening to the little voices she gives the "characters" 
When I bought that tiny house (years ago)  I had hoped, but really had no idea,
that my kids would enjoy playing with it and create fond fall memories!



Do you have any favorite fall decorations that have turned into a tradition for your family?


Happy Fall!
Fondly,
pink and green mama

Monday, October 25, 2010

* Backyard Fun: Forts


With the fall weather upon us and fewer bugs (hooray!) the girls have been spending 
A LOT of time in our backyard  building very elaborate forts together and with their friends.


This one was my favorite. 


I love the way they added the silk scarves (prayer flag style)
to the umbrella  and use the slide as the door.

They even added beds,  a sink,  and a sled...because you never know when you'll need one. 

How do your little ones take advantage of   cooler fall temperatures?

fondly,

pink and green mama


Saturday, October 23, 2010

* Preschool At Home: Fridge Skeleton and Learning About the Human Body

Three-year-old "C" and I got down  with our crafty selves this week and made these two new 
Skeleton Friends for our kitchen refrigerator. 


I printed the Skelly Template out from theToyMaker.com.
Then ran it through my  little 3M Laminator. 


Then I carefully cut out each piece and we cut up some old restaurant magnets
and used clear packing tape to attach a piece of magnet to the back of each piece. 
"C" and "E" have really enjoyed playing with their skeletons all week. 

I always like to incorporate  skeletons and lessons about our  bones/bodies at Halloween
a perfect time to tie it in with all of the festive decorations around the neighborhood. 

If you want a cute skeleton printable check out this adorable little guy from Sewing Stars


We will also be CREATING some Martha Stewart Noodle Skeletons


PLAYING with our Life-Size Skeleton Puzzle from Learning Resources
(purchased for "E"s Doctor-Themed Birthday Party)


and our AWESOME  Hape Belduc Body Puzzle
I got for the girls at the Discovery Science Center this Summer. 


We will be EXPLORING Animal and Human X-Rays on our Light Table


Happy October!

Fondly,
pink and green mama,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

* Preschool At Home: Fall Fun With An Apple Theme

"C" (age 3.5) attends a little neighborhood preschool
program a few mornings a week but we "after school" on her 
days off and afternoons before  big sister gets home from school. 

This month, we've been focusing on some 
fun fall-themed activities 
I've collected, printed, and made  from ideas around the web. 


First up, we've been practicing her  letter recognition with these  great apple activities I got from 


Instead of matching the two halves, I left them in one piece
(punched out with my big circle cutter punch)
and we're using clothespins with
Uppercase and Lowercase  letters written on them in Sharpie

Got the idea for the alphabet clothespins from my fabulous bloggy friend, Teach Mama.

The alphabet clothespins are written in a color pattern as well 
so when they're lined up in order they're making a pattern.  (Red, Orange, Green, Blue)
Next month, we'll use them with our Foam Fall Alphabet Leaves  I made last year. 


We're working on counting and hand eye coordination  by placing little paper apples
on this Apple Counting Tree Template I printed from 2 Teaching Mommies
I printed out this Apple Identification Chart and used a small scrapbook circle punch to cut them out. 
We might try using red, yellow, and green pony beads as counters too!


2 Teaching Mommies are fantastic.
We've been sorting and counting
beads, cheerios, and acorns in my muffin tin! 

(love them because we can use them all year and I'll re-use them to 
practice our numbers with our silk fall leaves next month)



I always try to pull books from the girls' shelves that have a theme
and put them in a basket in the family room. This month, I put out two baskets.
"E" reads to "C" while I'm cooking dinner. 
One filled with Fall and Back To School Books. 


The other basket is full of  our extensive Halloween Book collection!
(Sniffing kitty is not a requisite)


We've also been enjoying 
our homemade Apple Play-dough
with some fall shaped cookie cutters

and

Our Fall Sensory Box  (with Allspice and ground Cinnamon added
--
 your hands smell like Applebutter when you're done playing!)

We made an Apple-themed Sensory Box too!



Happy Fall!
(Happy Spring to our Aussie friends) 

Fondly,
pink and green mama

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

* Shout - Go Play! and Card Giveaway

We make some serious messes in this house.


Art Messes.


Food and Science Messes.


Dirt and Grass-stain Messes...

Throw in a terminally ill cat who barfs daily
(frequently on my couch -- thanks cat.)
and you'll 
realize that the inside of my washing machine
can end up more like a spin art machine : )


I was recently contacted by Growing Tree Toys
and
SC Johnson's Shout
for their new Go Play Initiative.
(Check out the fun free goodies they sent me
-- thank you!)

They are trying to encourage kids and adults to
go out and play,
which is fundamental to positive cognitive development
and a healthy outlet for our minds and bodies.
When my kids drive me crazy,
I bundle them up and send them
out into the backyard.
It's good for their mental health (and mine.)

This is one of the reasons
I've started walking/running again.
Time spent in nature,
exercising outdoors
is how I
  recharge my mental batteries.


Do we have messes to clean up around here?
Do we like to play outside?
Umm... yes.

So, I gave the Shout Advanced stain stick a spin
and my smocks look a whole lot better!
Also love the Color Catcher sheets,
(I've been a fan of these for years--
I actually gave them to my mom
last year in her Christmas stocking, because I'm a
giant nerd and I love them)

I can throw one in a load of mixed colors
(read: my daughter's rainbow wardrobe!)
and no more dingy colors mixing.


See the fun pack of 52 Nature Activities
card set Growing Tree Toys sent me?

(So many fun learning toys, games, Schleich animals, and
fun art pads on their site!)

52 games, activities, 
and art projects for kids
to do in nature.

Want a fun pack of cards too?
Leave a comment telling me

What's your favorite 
fall activity with your kids?
(make sure I have a way to contact you)

I'll pick a winner
at midnight EST
on Friday October 22, 2010. 
Giveaway open to US Residents Only. 

Fondly,
pink and green mama



Disclaimer: I received a sample for review.
No other compensation was received for this post or to host a giveaway.
All opinions are mine. 




Monday, October 18, 2010

* Homemade Three Little Pigs Finger Puppet Set

"C" has been learning all about
fairy tales and classic children's stories  at preschool. 
The three favorites have been:
The Story of the 3 Little PigsThe 3 Little Kittens, and Little Red Riding Hood. 


She came home a few weeks ago reciting (in her little sweet voice),

"Not by the hairs of my chinny, chin, chin!" and,
"I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!" So....mama decided we needed to 
make some finger puppets 
to act out  the story of the three little pigs. 

(and no... I don't usually have a bunch of little chairs
and step stools in my art studio -- I'm painting  them for our Preschool's Silent Auction!) 

We used 
empty toilet paper tubes,
glue, 
felt, 
and sharpies. 


And of course, make sure you have a cat who needs attention to walk
all over your project while you're working!

We trimmed pink felt to fit on three of the tubes,
and one piece of this gray/brown felt to fit on the fourth tube.


Because I still don't have  a working glue gun, 
we spread glue on the felt and held it in place  with clothespins to dry. 


I drew three little pig heads with sharpie on stiff felt,
and a little wolf and a bushy tail on a piece of stiff gray felt.


Same technique, 
more glue and clothespins. 
If you have a glue gun this will go a lot faster!


Then, we built three little houses with blocks, lincoln logs, and legos
 and acted out our own story of the three little pigs. 


We may have to make some more permanent homes for our little piggy friends
with empty tissue boxes!
I could see these being used in the story corner of a preschool classroom or at home.
"C" wants to make a  Little Red Riding Hood set next.

Fondly,
pink and green mama



Friday, October 15, 2010

* Preschool At Home: Exploration Light Table



I have been wanting to do this for the girls fo quite some time 
but finally got my act together yesterday afternoon. 
"C" and I set up a light table, discovery center in our playroom!


I put my light box on our little Ikea table  in the corner of the playroom, 
with a basket of interesting, colorful, and transparent objects in it. 


I put a basket with Sea Shells,  Polished Rock Slices  (from my Grandpa's collection),
Glass Beads/ Stones  (like the ones from craft stores/Dollar Tree),
Transparent Colored Blocks,
Leaves, Resin Specimen Bug Blocks, and this little  Colored Water and Oil Game


The Polly Pockets had to check it out too. 


Our colored blocks look really cool with rocks, shells,  
and occasional Polly Pocket dolls  under them! 


Our plexi-glass bug specimen blocks are really fun on the table too! 
"C" (age 3) spent 2 HOURS playing at the table yesterday....Can you believe it? 

Happy Exploring!

If you don't have a light box at home (or in your classroom)
I've seen people make their own with  plexi-glass and a box, or a glass top table --
add white velum/paper to it and make sure your light source won't get hot
(use something like LED xmas lights) you don't want to burn your kids or start a fire! 

Go check out Filth Wizardry's Blog here for transparent art activities
and here for fun with sand on their great homemade Light Table

If you want a set of 20 Colorful See-Through blocks 
like ours... I got them from Oriental Trading Company here.

Fondly,
pink and green mama, MaryLea

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

* Homemade Felt Pumpkin Game

The girls and I decided it would be  fun to make our own Halloween Game.


One that could be played by all of the members of our household.
(even the ones who can't read like "C"  and the cats and using materials we had in the house)

We started with two sheets of stiff black feltas the "gameboards."
Then, we cut out  orange felt pumpkins (with regular Eco-fi Felt)
Then, we cut out an assortment of eye,  nose, and mouth shapes from black felt. 




Then, I made a  dice out of a wooden block with symbols for:

Add 1 eye.
 Add a nose.
Add a mouth.
Take off a piece. (a blank pumpkin)

UPDATE: We changed the Take Off a Piece to Add a LEAF.
The put one back was causing too much duress during play!


If you roll a piece you've already used,
for example you already have 4 eyes (2 on each pumpkin) miss a turn and let the other person roll. 


Who is going to get both of their pumpkins finished first?
Happy (felt) Pumpkin Making!

P.S. Mamas should definitely be drinking
a pumpkin latte while playing this game!

fondly,
pink and green mama

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