Wednesday, May 28, 2014

H is for Hammer

Sensory play with flowers and boxes locked with keys, flower sensory bin, making all natural perfume, fine motor and problem solving skills with keys, fun activity for phonemic awareness and listening skills, letter K = summer fun outside.

Sensory play with flowers and boxes locked with keys, flower sensory bin, making all natural perfume, fine motor and problem solving skills with keys, fun activity for phonemic awareness and listening skills, letter K = summer fun outside.

Locks and keys for toddlers

The kids tried locks and keys a couple of months ago. This simple activity is very challenging for little fingers. They were not interested. This time they were to unlock the boxes with surprises inside. To lock a box, I made holes with the needle and threaded pieces of chenille stems to make loops.
Use every day with different content. Add an activity with each box.

Camilla had several boxes a day with different contents for several days. Some surprises to unlock - she was looking forward to have her green boxes every day. On the picture below: some examples of things she discovered in the boxes: mini dinosaurs from the discount store (they roared for some time after getting out of the box), oversized buttons (we sorted them by color or shape), bracelets to try on and see how the colors look together, new fish for splashing in her toy pool, baby jar caps (she counted and named the animals, then placed them in her Zoo), numbers 1-5 (she still needs a lot of assistance to put them in order at 31 months old).

Phonemic awareness and listening skills for toddlers

Before unlocking each box, we shook it to hear the sound and tried to guess what could be inside. I put jingle bells in one of the first boxes. That was the easiest sound for her to guess. Another easy box for guessing the sound was filled with several M&Ms, and her favorite too.

We talked about that it is a sound, that we can hear sounds with the ears, and sounds are all different. I think it's one more great activity for beginning phonemic awareness and just awesome for practicing to pay attention and listening skills.

Shake a box and practice attention and listening skills

Nature boxes and sensory play for toddlers

We went to the park with many roses. Camilla discovered fresh moist rose petals under the roses and got fascinated by them!

The best nature sensory box ever!

That inspired her to explore flowers around our neighborhood. I used this opportunity to dress her up and have a photo session. That turned out to be lots of fun for both of us... and Daddy loved to join us with his camera.

We gathered some flowers and extended our play at home. This is a quick and easy sensory bin. I let Camilla add any supplies and characters to the flower bin she wanted, and enjoyed playing along with the pretty bin.

Create a scene to promote pretend play 
Sensory play/ motor skills/ problem solving skills

Our very own - all natural perfume

Camilla got the petals into the pan and helped me wash them. I added boiling water and let her - very carefully - stir the petals. I kept it in the lowest heat on the stove for 20 min and let it stand coved through the night.

How to make a perfume for toddlers and preschool

Next morning we filtered it using a coffee filter and transferred it to the pretty spray bottle. It smells amazing when sprayed on the skin.

Attention: even a tiny drop leaves a stain! We spayed hands/ bare feet/ doll's dress/ anything else. Camilla went through a couple of little spray bottles a day. She loves this sensory experience!

How to make a perfume for toddlers and preschool

K is for keys for toddlers

We continue with out Tot School Printables and a letter of the week through the summer. These activities printed for free from 1+1+1=1 are super easy and exciting by now! Kids expect a new package every week.

Introduction to the letter K. We make sure to hear the sound /k/ in the beginning of the words before seeing the letter!

Free Printables

Find the keys on letter K. This week our friends Koala, Kangaroo, and King visited and helped with finding the keys. Camilla doesn't need a lot to trigger pretend playing nowadays. This little twist has completely changed our usual activity.

Free Printables

Match the keys to the shadow. It is so easy now. Was it that difficult just a month ago?

Free Printables

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

World Cup 2014 for Kids

World Cup 2014

The world cup brings all the nations together in a wonderful celebration of the uniting of all the world's cultures. "Just as Brazil is everyone's country
                              and Coca-Cola is everyone's drink,
                                 the FIFA World Cup is everyone's cup,"
 said Joseph Tripodi, The Coca-Cola Company.

I am so excited to be joining All Done Monkey and many other wonderful blogs in the World Cup for Kids!

Hands-on exploration of the countries participating in the World Cup 2014 is the excellent idea behind this project. I also see it as one of the best ways to bond with my children as a game of soccer is always exciting and enjoyable in this house. The uniting nature of the game of soccer, its soul and courage can be heard from the soccer songs. You can read about some of them here: Born to Fly

Every day a team plays a game in the World Cup, there will be a blog post on kids activities related to some aspect of the culture of the country of the day. World Cup 2014 starts on June 12 in Brazil. The participating countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Chili, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA.

Make sure to follow World Cup for Kids on Our Main page and Pinterest.

The first stage of the World Cup

The first stage of the games are from June 12 to June 26. During this period, each country will have 3 games, and 3 blog posts for the World Cup for kids!

USA Schedule:
Monday, June 16        USA - Ghana
Sunday, June 22         USA - Portugal
Thursday, June 26      USA - Germany

This blog, Laugh and Learn, will be covering Germany and Russia.

Germany Schedule:
Monday, June 16 Germany - Portugal Invitation to explore and build: The Brandenburg Gate
Saturday, June 21 Germany - Ghana   Bremen Town Musicians
Thursday, June 26 Germany - USA    German Engineering. Playmobil.

Russia Schedule:
Tuesday, June 17 Russia - Korea Republic Cupcake Castle: Play-doh and scissors skills
Sunday, June 22 Russia - Belgium              Treasure Chest and Precious Stones from Fairy Tales
Thursday, June 26 Russia - Algeria            Learning about Birds: Art and Dance

Pin it here: Laugh and Learn

German culture

Just how much our culture and that of our ancestors influence our every day life? Some statistics: about 64 million citizens of Germany claim German ancestry. To compare: there are about 47 million in the United States!

Schiller in German Village,
Columbus, Ohio

In June, we are planning
to travel to Bremen with Brothers Grimm,
to explore German engineering with penguins,
to discover one of the most famouse landmarks with horses.  

Russian culture

I am very happy to cover two of the most influential cultures of the world. Russian folklore and literature, scientific discoveries and handcrafts, art and philosophy are some aspects of the cultural heritage.

Anna Pavlova in The Dying Swan (Fokine, Saint-Saens),
Saint Petersburg, 1905. 

In June, we are planning
to explore the Malachite Casket and count "precious" stones,
to dance with swans,
to discover one of the most famous landmarks
with play-dough. 

I very much hope you will enjoy following our hands-on discoveries of the countries and cultures with these wonderful blogs!

All Done Monkey * Kid World Citizen * Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes * Laugh and Learn * LadyDeeLG * Head of the Heard * Marie's Pastiche * Mama Tortuga * Chasing The Donkey * La Cite Des Vents * Homeschool Ways * Melibelle In Tokyo * Delightful Children's Books * My Twintopia * The Piri-piri Lexicon * MarocMama * Growing Up Gabel * Las Vegas Moms Blog * My Daylights

 You can also follow us here:

Multicultural Kid Blogs - World Cup for Kids
Pinterest: World Cup for Kids 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Riaba The Hen


Each and any of them are always engaging - they make you start thinking about your life. Folktales are special - they are created from the hundreds of years of our grandparents' wisdom.

We are sharing some of that wisdom with you today! This made my task of singling out

THE ONE - most special one - from the millions of folktales existing

almost impossible. "One day Wisdom, Food, and Wealth started on a journey," - this is the beginning of a Nigerian Folktale.

Oh, well, I didn't choose that one for this post. Because I wanted to talk

about happiness -
the most exciting subject for everybody.

What does happiness mean to you? (I mean it as a question: please, leave your comments bellow!) Can meeting the basic needs (simple food and shelter) be the only requirement for happiness? Does one need some wealth to feel happy? How difficult is it to find happiness? How easy is it to loose happiness one day?

Is it as easy as breaking an egg?

Here is the happiness in simple terms. The Russian folktale that is always the first tale Russian toddlers listen to.

The Little Speckled Hen

Once upon a time there lived an old man and his wife. Nothing did they have but each other and a hen called Riaba.
One day Riaba the Hen laid an egg. It was not a white egg. That egg was a golden egg.
The old man and the old lady were very happy. The old lady put her golden egg into a bowl for storage.
Then she got very curious. What could possibly be inside the golden egg? She knocked the egg on the table... it didn't break. The old lady called her husband for help.
The old man tried to hammer the egg. It didn't crack!
Suddenly, a tiny mouse ran by and waved its tail. The tail pushed the egg. The egg fell down and broke!

The old man was crying.
The old lady was crying.
Riaba the Hen was cackling,
-Don't you cry, Old Man! Don't you cry, Old Lady! I will lay you a new egg - not a golden one, but a white one.

Our play with Ryaba the Hen

We played a lot! It is a simple story with only 4 characters: very easy to retell, reenact, and make up your own stories out of it. We gave golden eggs to kids along with the hammers - they couldn't break them.

little speckled hen

When the story went along, I secretly exchanged the gold egg to the regular one. It fell to the floor and broke!

Everybody got speechless indeed!

Camilla made mice from play-dough. The ears are made by simply pinching the pieces out with two fingers. She enjoyed taking the eyes, whiskers, and a tail (made from chenille stems) in and out; running her mice around with "Peeps" and pushing eggs with the long tails. That got her occupied for 3 days, LOL.

We reviewed the parts of a chicken with a Do-a-Dot printable. It can be downloaded for free from here: Rooster

Finally, we assembled the lovely bookmarks together. The story is all about happiness, and so are the bookmarks. So I thought a little glitter serves the purpose - and got carried away with the glitter glue when finishing decorating our chickens.

The instructions for the bookmark can be found here: Animal Bookmark


I am proud to join a group of these wonderful bloggers - hosts of Poppins Book  Nook!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

 Follow Poppins Book Nook on Pinterest
Clip art by: Melon Headz

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chicken Bookmark

The first ever bookmark for my 2 year old ~  perfect and exciting ~ sturdy and free ~ easy to manipulate by the little fingers ~ not damaging to the pages. Yes, we were in search for the best bookmark because we started reading "big books".

I wanted it to be special to get us excited with the next level of reading. Here is what we came up with. What is your favorite bookmark?

Sorry, we moved!
Please, see the updated version here:
You are very welcome to follow us here:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Farm. G is for Goat.

Earth Day Every Day Bracelet

Brown - soil for growing food. It covers only 1/32 of the earth and is less than 5 feet deep. Save Land Space.
Yellow - sun. Sun warms the earth and is needed for plant photosynthesis and growth. Save energy, stop global warming.
Blue - water. 97% is salt water - <1% of the world's fresh water is accessible for human use. Save water, protect our waterways.
Red - animals and people. Everybody can only survive if natural resources are conserved. Reduce, reuse, and re-buy.
Green - Earth. Make everyday Earth Day!
Heart - You! You are the key. It is our job to take care of our Earth.

We had lots of fun with red! We visited a farm to see baby animals and to enjoy some perfect spring weather.

On this picture: the bunny loves to thump on the log, but is anybody hiding inside?

Sheep craft

It's quick, easy, and very educational. Camilla was given a picture of a sheep. She glued some wool on the sheep and grass and corn for sheep's food. I love it!

G is for goat

We continue with our printables from Carisa:
I love the Tot School Printables in Action Pinterest board!
All the letters and related great ideas are in one place. Very helpful.
You can find it HERE 

Find the goats. Camilla is 30 months now. She loves tracing the letters, but still does not like coloring. The fact that there are goats on the letters helps a lot: it makes the letter entertaining and helps to learn the directions for writing letters. All she has to do is connect the goats. Which is fun!

What starts with the sound "G"? The whole time we are on this page, I name the objects and their begging sounds, again and again. I realized today that it's still not enough. As of today, 5/01/14, Camilla started reading a book, yay!! She named letters of the words she saw with the biggest print. She named the letters, but not their sounds.

Stamp the letter G on the goat. Well, our letters G are all over the place.

Dot paint the goats. Camilla loves this activity. After that we usually use the markers to trace the letter several times with different colors. This time she didn't want to do this.

A word about our choice of markers. We used to use Crayola chubby markers (which are made for beginners). The problem that I missed was they are for beginners who don't use a proper pencil grip yet. When Camilla learned her pencil grip, those markers started flying up from her little fingers. That made her very frustrated! I thought that she didn't want to do this type of activities any longer. It took me several days to find out that those markers were huge and awkward for her little fingers.

We immediately switched to mini pip-squeaks! I wish I had thought about it before!

Dot paint the letters G, g - say the sound "G" when painting every one of them. Camilla enjoys stamping the letters quickly. We need to work on sounding them out!

Farm related vocabulary. I printed the page twice, and made the cards from one of the pages. She loved this little matching game after visiting the farm, even played with cards as her toys.

Beginning sounds game.

This is very challenging for Camilla. We did it together as long as she was willing to pay attention. This is our first introduction to this game... we'll see...

And beginning sounds game on the magnetic board (and the refrigerator). Wow, we ARE to the next step of learning!