Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fall Sensory Bins.

Fall Sensory Bins

We love sensory bins in this house for their wonderful fun and educational values for little kids. Exploring the world through all the senses, learning language and math without even noticing they are learning; fine motor skills and creativity - to name a few.

Fall, with its bright and beautiful colors, harvesting, and holidays, is the best season to offer sensory bins to the little ones. So much fun, laughs, and learning involved: colors, scents, textures, tastes, exercising and games! We'll be featuring some gorgeous creations.

Bright Ideas and Creativity - Is it easy to make a perfect sensory bin?

Let's discuss sensory bins as a community!

I would really appreciate everybody's ideas and tips. Maybe you'll find something inspiring for you through the discussion?

Through this Labor Day weekend, I am featuring the most beautiful and engaging fall sensory bins I could find. Please, take a look and leave a comment: link: Sensory Bins on Facebook.

Here are some questions to consider:
  • Which sensory bin featured on Facebook is the most inspiring FOR YOU? Why?
  • Which fillings for a bin are the most fun: corn, sand, salt, beans, pasta, rice, pinecones, leaves, acorns, anything else?
  • Which toys you would use for the bins? Activities? Games?
  • Any other tips, pictures, or blog posts you'd like to share?
Join in the fun:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Millie Waits for the Mail

Pretend Play Post Office and Rolling Giant Dice

Mail Carriers are the first to explore community helpers hands-on in our very new homeschool preschool - very exciting. We are setting up a pretend play post office and mail delivery services, learning about mail and how to send and receive a letter, and rolling giant dice for our favorite book of the month: "Millie Waits for the Mail" by Alexander Steffensmeier.

Poppins Book Nook

It's time for a Poppins Book Nook - a book club that goes live on the last Monday of each months.

The theme for this month is "When I Grow Up". This is a very exciting topic - it calls for all things pretend play. Visit the hosts of Poppins Book Nook to find out who the kids want to be and how they pretend play and discover the world around them along the way!

You can find our previous Poppins Book Nook books and activities here:
The Runaway Bunny
Little Blue Truck
The Little Speckled Hen
There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish

Millie Waits for the Mail

The kind mail carrier is delivering the mail to the farm. "Oh, that's boring," you'd say. Not on this farm, it isn't! Adventures, hiding and chasing, very charming farm characters, and more... are making this book fascinating and interesting for any age.

I think post office and mail delivery is an excellent first theme for the beginning of the school year! It encourages to read and write. A lot of symbols are used for communication which is great to learn and use to represent ideas in written communication! This pretend play is all about fun with sorting, matching, counting, drawing and writing.

Pretend play - post office

Camilla loved her new post office beyond any of my expectations. It took some time to set up, but so worth it!
1. I offered a set for desk organizing that I had.
2. Envelopes.
3. Stamps. I printed out stamps from here: USPS Store. Set them up in a small box with a glue stick.
4. Cardstock.
5. Peek-a-Boo Interactive Flash Cards from SchoolZone. This is a winner! Camilla had them for a while, but had not been that interested. It is different when you are writing on them to deliver the message to Daddy, or your favorite stuffed animal, isn't it? Since they have numbers on them, they can be used for delivering to an address, or sorting and matching activity.
The cards are laminated and can be reused for dry-erase. Affiliated link:

6. I had a set of USPS new boxes. We'll have to assemble them together and deliver the presents to friends.
7. The pocket chart: adds a lot of fun to pretend play!
8. A mail carrier uniform. For the hat, I printed out USPS logo and glued it onto the blue cap (white school glue worked just fine - I let it set overnight). I saw in another laminated logo onto my old diaper bag. The bag is Camilla's another very favorite (besides the cards). A blue and white outfit completed the look.
9. Newspapers and junk mail - we stuffed a bunch into the diaper bag. It turned out being interesting: I realized that Camilla never had these in her hands before and there are captivating back to school pictures in all the papers now, LOL.
10. Markers and stickers.

Roll a die - developing symbolic thinking

A simple game based on the book doesn't take any time to set up. I made a giant dice: an old box with pictures on all sides.
We are playing in a small group when players are moving around, talking and laughing. The box worked for us: the picture on top is clear and visible to all the players, and the noise of the falling box draws attention.
Roll a box - the picture on top is a call for action.
A pig and a chicken - players are to make animal sounds.
Mail carrier - deliver the mail.
Farmer - tell the cow to be nice to a mail carrier. Or milk a cow.
Cow - say "Moo" and scare the mail carrier.

A field trip to a mail box

Thursday, September 4 is a Newspaper Carrier Day... and a first day of our new and exciting Homeschool Preschool. Our first field trip will not be long, and we'll try to catch a mail carrier to observe and talk.
But until then, here is a set up for our mail boxes. I laminated small USPS logos and attached them to boxes with the tape. It is additional fun for kids to have movable parts. Camilla played with the pictures on boxes, and it made a world of a difference for her to accept that these are special mail boxes, LOL.

 When I Grow Up

I hope you enjoy following 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

When I Grow Up Bundle Giveaway!
Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers
a chance to win a brand new storybook
that ties in with our theme for the month.
This month one lucky entrant will win
a bundle of fun for the theme of When I Grow Up.  This bundle will include a copy of the storybookWhen I Grow Up by Mercer Mayer, one copy of Community Helpers Puzzles by Trend, and one copy of Community Helpers & Careers Pocket Flash Cards by Trend.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {}.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Explore and Discover with Pirate Ships

Explore and Discover with Pirate Ships

We had fun exploring pirate ships and learning parts of a ship. These early preschool science experiments are priceless! I love watching little ones discover the world for the first time! This post contains many activities: building with cups, painting paper towels, sensory play with colored water, sink or float and melting ice activities - not intended for a great end product, only exploration and discovery.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Treasure Hunt and Story Time. Maps for Kids.

Introduction to maps

The treasure hunt was exciting for us this week: we built the ocean and island small world with the pirates' stuff in it. The awesome book that helped us out with learning about maps is "Maisy's Pirate Treasure Hunt" by Lucy Cousins.

Educational games, small world, pretend play, story time, preschool books

Maisy's Pirate Treasure Hunt

All the Maisy's books are great. This one turned out to be very special. It is one from the "Maisy's Big Flap Books". The treasure hunt is for finding 3 keys and a treasure chest. The simple map is provided on the first page. We kept returning back to the map with every next page to learn how maps can help.

Camilla somehow figured out the colors on the map: blue is for the ocean, green is for the forest, and yellow is for the beach. The only one that I don't think she understood was the cave. She was able to find all the keys!

Activities for kids, science activites for preschoolers, Charleston SC

Treasure Hunt Small World

It was a quick set up for pretend playing - nothing too fancy. I used construction paper to color code the areas and we outlined our new map together. Well, I drew the map while Camilla was watching and we were discussing the things on the map. Then I let her lead in treasure hunting and pretend playing. Fun!

Treasure hunt, pirates, preschool books, family vacation

Pirates' stuff and cannons

We've got to discuss the ocean animals and pirates' stuff and weapons (a sward and a cannon - new words) along the way. Recently, for our small worlds we are using Playmobil toys. Only a few smaller sets allow us to mix and match. Camilla loves Playmobil people much more then any other small figures she has! The cannon pictured above is from Imaginex pirate ship.

Activities for kids, story time, small world, educational games

We were lucky to have an opportunity to explore old cannons in Charleston, SC. Camilla was very interested (so much for a girl!). The cannons can be found at the Battery.

If you plan to travel with small kids, a nice non stressful day can be planned around the Battery. You can take a stroll along the Battery (there are stairs, not very stroller friendly) or through the neighborhoods around. The beautiful houses made Camilla think they are all "princess castles". So don't forget the camera to take pictures of the princess's headquarters!

Hazel Parker Playground is located a short distance from the Battery and kind of hidden. I would never find it if I didn't know the address in advance: 70 E Bay St. A small parking lot is in front of the entrance to the park. You can also have a picnic around there. I personally wouldn't though - those bugs of all colors and sizes just couldn't leave me alone for a second. Aw, and a beautiful carriage ride is available there.

Educational games, small world, pretend play, pirate games, introduction to geography, maps for kids.

Here is Camilla trying to operate the cannon. Such a great time we had!
You can find more of our pirates' activities here:
There was an old pirate who swallowed a fish
Pirates' hats

Friday, August 1, 2014

Foreign Language for Preschoolers

Foreign Language for Preschoolers

In short terms: beneficial for cognitive development, memory and concentration, important and necessary in the 21st century,  fun, natural for this stage in life, is usually not available or affordable.

The window of opportunity

The ability to speak a second language comes handy, and sometimes necessary in any professional field. As the process of globalization continues, I can imagine the importance of a foreign language will increase significantly. At the beginning of my child's preschool I keep asking myself:
Will she need a foreign language in her life?
Which language would it be?
How much time, money, and effort should we spend on it considering her speech delay and so many other things that interest her and occupy her time?
Is it realistic for us to accomplish with my husband opposing Camilla learning a second language?  

Motivation is the key in the long process of a language acquisition. A child has to stay motivated to use the second language; and not less importantly, parents need all the inspiration in the world to invest time and money in their child's learning a foreign language.

That's why I keep this inspiring book close by and have decided to write another post on it. "Bilingual is better" by Roxana Soto and Ana Flores provides excellent support and gives me some great tips in our bilingual journey. You can read my previous post, as well as find related posts here:
Cultural heritage and languages.

What is a window of opportunity for learning a foreign language? Scientists agree that the best age is 0-9 years old. The growing brain is like a sponge that absorbs all the sounds, words, and grammatical structures effortlessly and naturally. "This book comes at the perfect time to open up the conversation about the type of education we want for our children, how we can educate them, how we intend to broaden our horizons even if it means an extra effort for us as parents" (p. 17) - the authors of "Bilingual is better" explain.

The effects of foreign language on brain functioning, memory, problem-solving, creativity, and concentration.

The recent break-through discoveries in the field of neuroscience led to many research studies on the effects of the second language on brain functions. The results are fascinating!  Researches report significantly efficient brain functioning, enhanced language skills in a native language, memory, problem-solving skills, creativity, and concentration. Bilingual kids had higher SAT scores, which is nice. But how about quicker thinking and better decisions made as an adult?

In their book, Soto and Flores have described some of the studies to show that "bilingualism is better for your brain" (p. 68).

Which language to choose as a second language? The book is written from "two Latina Moms" perspective. If your choice is Spanish, you could find a lot of historical facts and modern views on the role of Spanish in America. Some other popular languages are German, French, Chinese, Russian, Italian. I guess, when considering a choice of a language, many factors are in the picture: parents' ability to speak a second language, cultural heritage, the resources available locally at a time, the popularity of any given language.

Challenges in learning a second language.

I think it is very sad that kids are about 14 years old when they start on a foreign language! This is way too late for the brain to start. That's why so many of us fear a foreign language! I asked my son's friends when they were 16-17 about their experience with a foreign language in high school. The responses were: "The most difficult subject I've ever had", "I hate it", "This is the only one subject I could never get a good grade at no matter how hard I tried", and so on.

That's why I've decided to offer a second language for my daughter. Doesn't matter which level we'd accomplish. At least, she'll get the experience that will help her at school and her future life. Of course, it is all about finding the resources and opportunities to speak a foreign language. The authors of "Bilingual is better" name dual immersion program at school as the first option in learning a foreign language, as well as offer many more tips on finding the learning resources.

There are many discussions available on the topic. I found this post by All Done Monkey very helpful and inspirational: Leanna: "Raising bilingual kids is a learning process".

As for the book featured here: "Just think about it, they have no idea of the gift you are giving them and of the incredible ways it will manifest as benefits in their lives, and the best part is they can't even complain or argue against it... yet." (p. 116).

What are your thoughts? Please, leave a comment - I'd be very interested to read any views and opinions!

It's my pleasure to join these great co-hosts of "Mama's Best Parenting Books" project. Please, be sure to come and check out the best parenting books of their choice!
The Explosive Child (B-Inspired Mama)
Wiring Kids for Success in Life (Trilingual Mama)
The Contented Toddler Years + Routines: The Contented Little Me Says 'Why' (Words n Needles)
Discipline Without Distress (One Time Through)
Mom's House, Dad's House + Parenting Through Divorce (Lemon Lime Adventures)
Positive Discipline A-Z + 5 Tips for Positive Discipline Parenting (Look! We're Learning!)
Real Boys (The Jenny Evolution)
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids (Dirt & Boogers)
Smart Parenting for Smart Kids (Planet Smarty Pants)
Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World - A Parenting Book About Teaching Kids to Serve (This Reading Mama)
Foreign Language for Preschoolers (Camilla and Roman)
Awakening Children's Minds and Raising the Emotionally Intelligent Child - Emotionally Intelligent Parenting (Line Upon Line Learning)
Potty Train in a Weekend (Words n Needles)
The Out-of-Sync Child - The Ultimate Sensory Processing Disorder Resource (Sensory Activities for Kids)
12 More Books for Moms (Teach Beside Me)