Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rainbow Sticky Collage

Playing with light can be as simple as taping a piece of contact paper to the window. I set out the materials from our Rainbow Sensory Bin.

The collage took the form of a story board. Bobo created monsters and rainbow bridges. He asked to keep it up until dark, then until church and finally "forever." I love pulling into the driveway and seeing the happy rainbow collage.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Flannel Friday: 5 Little Froggies

"Five Little Froggies" sung to the tune of "Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree" traditional song adapted by Miss Courtney.
Five little froggies sitting in a tree,
Teasing Baby Alligator, “Can’t catch me!”
Along comes Baby Alligator quiet as can be,
And, “BOO,” scares that froggie right out of the tree.
Repeat: 4,3,2,1, and there were no more frogs to tease that sweet alligator

I used some non-fiction frog books we have in our collection as inspiration for these red-eyed tree frogs. I used fabric markers for the little details. 

Animal print flannel rocks! I really want to add a diaper to this little guy, since I call him "baby alligator." He doesn't have any teeth, so I guess that works.

While I'm singing and using the flannel pieces for this story, I encourage the children to act out the story as well. We hold up fingers on one hand and use the other hand to make an alligator mouth. We cover our eyes and say, BOO!

To view the rest of this week's round-up, visit Rain Makes Applesauce. The focus of the week was the Summer Reading Club theme, Dream Big READ. Fun fact-- Alligators are nocturnal!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Books: Rainbow

Since Bobo chose his theme this month, I didn't have a set plan in mind for materials. I usually have a bible story or verse in mind when coming up with the themes. For rainbows, I thought of Noah and the Ark. The rainbow is God's promise to never cover the earth in water again.

Noah and the Ark by Kelly Pulley is great for beginning readers. I tend to like picture books better than easy readers because the illustrations are prettier. The next two books have wonderful, large illustrations: Two by Two by John Winch and Noah's Ark by Jerry Pinkney.

We also read some fun rainbow books. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett is a magical book where a little girl finds a box with scraps of yarn and knitting needles. Somehow, the box never runs out. Bobo asked for this book over and over again. The illustrations jump off the page.

A Rainbow of My Own is always a favorite. "The rainbow is his friend," Bobo, age 3.

Elmer is a rainbow elephant. We also read Elmer and the Rainbow. These are fun to share one on one because there is so much text. The colorful illustrations still hold his interest, so I can get through the whole story. He asks lots of questions, too.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Rainbow Salt

This activity developed from the color mixing tot tray. I thought it would be fun to add a thin layer of salt and spray colors on it. It was a success and Bobo added more salt for more sensory fun. We used a whole container of table salt and Epsom salt. The bottles are filled with water and food coloring.

Bobo's favorite part was spraying. He also used glitter and beads to hide. The result was sparkly colors!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: Whoa, Baby, Whoa! by Grace Nichols

Cute book, right? WRONG! The book is a litany of NO's. The first page shows an adorable baby getting into mommy's purse. "Woah, baby, woah!" No distractions or alternatives for this baby, instead he's constantly berated with NO's. He can't go in the kitchen, tear up newspapers or climb on stacks of books. He can't splash in the bath tub, play with his food or make a mess with spoons.

Basically, baby cannot do anything that is appropriate for his age. He can't explore his world. He doesn't have a trusted caregiver to explore with him and keep him safe. Instead, he has a horde of naysayers. Poor, baby!

I thought, at least the illustrations are beautiful, until I realized the baby has the same beatific smile on each page. He has the same expression after hearing NO over and over. What baby reacts this way? Show me a baby with a range of emotions, please.

I wish the book was more like the last spread, "Go, baby, go!" Children learn through exploration and crave encouragement. I'm not sure what a child would learn through this book. If it is just for enjoyment, what is enjoyable about hearing no? I say, no thank you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rainbow Sensory Bin

Hidden goodies lie underneath the colorful feathers and flowers of the Rainbow Sensory Bin. You can see the colorful craft sticks, penguins, bath toys and cups. The heavier items fell to the bottom: googly eyes, gems and mosaic plastic shapes. So far, the feathers have been the favorite.

A few activities that have been inspired by the bin:

1. Feather on a Stick Race: Bobo balanced a feather on a stick. I challenged him to a race to the end of the hall. Think egg on a spoon race.

2. Play dough people.

3. Tickle game with feathers.

4. Extreme Makeover Feather Edition: I don't know how he gets so many feathers to stay in his hair.

5. Dump and Pour: The animal cups were very hungry.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tot School: Rainbow Trays

Roll and Dot pot of gold from 2 Teaching Mommies:

Build a Rainbow with beads and styrofoam base: (found floating down my street, I looked out the window and said, "I need that!" Bobo thought I was nuts, LOL.)

Color Mixing with Spray Bottles:

Rainbow Play-Doh: (We are slowly making Kool-Aid play dough, but have only made orange at this point)

Counting Rainbow Rings: (Discount School Supply)

Magnet Board Rainbow Sticks: (idea from Teach Preschool)

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Colorful Caterpillar Dice Game: (make a head for each child)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flannel Friday: Colorful Caterpillar

The colorful caterpillar is made primarily of foam with hook strips on the back. The head is laminated. I inherited a wealth of flannel board materials upon embarking on my adventure as a children's librarian. Many of them have the words, but some of them do not. Since I love stories and caterpillars, I created a tale to go with this guy...

The Colorful Caterpillar by Miss Courtney

One day a caterpillar was resting in his tree. He was looking at all the beautiful flowers in the garden. He wished he had beautiful colors, too. But he was only green. He ate green leaves every day.

"How can I be many colors like the flowers?" he thought.

He had an idea. Maybe if he ate something other than green leaves, he would become different colors too.

So he crawled and creeped until he came to an orange tree. He ate a whole orange, and the next day part of his body had turned orange.

"This is great! What other foods can I eat?" he asked.

He found blueberries and turned blue. Then, he found a grapes and turned purple. Last, he found fresh strawberries and turned red.

The caterpillar was so happy. He kept eating and eating, until he was very long and very colorful. Then, he was finally as beautiful as all the flowers in the garden.

The End.

Check out the rest of this week's flannels at Notes from the Story Room.

Play Date: The Letter "F"

Theme: Letter "F"

Imaginative Play

We played peek-a-boo with the puppet stage and jungle animals. The children who came were under 2, so we did not sing or act out (except making animal noises). The boys enjoyed hiding behind the stage and peeking out at their mothers.

Logical Thinking

Put your hard hat on to play at the construction site. I put out the construction set I purchased for the library from Discount School Supply, cones and Duplos. The cones became hats for one child, which gives a new meaning to "put your thinking cap on."


I put four sets of felt pumpkins for "Fall" matching. You could also practice patterns with older children, counting, adding and subtracting. B, age 1, liked putting them on the flannel board because he only gets one turn during storytime. Our play group lasts for two hours, so you can have lots of turns in that time!

"F" is for Fish. Discount School Supply has some cute, moveable fish for a reasonable price for small groups. Depending on the age of the artist, you can use tempera, water colors, markers or crayons to decorate them. Some children will paint each stripe a different color, while others will make them all one color. They all love the wiggle!

What do you need for music class with preschoolers? Easy: lots of percussion instruments and Whaddaya think of that? by Laurie Berkner. Lead a parade or simply play along to the music. Dancing is REQUIRED.

Sorting and Counting

Did I mention I LOVE Discount School Supply? I found this wonderful hopscotch carpet with bean bags for indoor play. Today, we practiced sorting and counting by using ladybug bean bags with spots and numbers on them. You can match by color or number. The boys had fun throwing the bean bags, too.

Educational Toys

The favorite toy this week was the sensory puzzle from, you guessed it, Discount School Supply. Instead of setting out the tub of toys as usual, I only set out a few toys on each mat. I did allow a couple of noise makers this time, because the children love them. One was a See and Say for farm animals, and the other was a light and sound station taken from a table toy (Goodwill find).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Eating a Rainbow

I planned this activity to make one of those beautiful rainbow sheets I've seen lots of preschools making using frozen watercolors. I made these ice cubes with just water and food coloring. When Bobo saw them, he asked, "Can I eat them?" I'm glad they weren't paint!

They were too big for his mouth, so he asked for a tool. All his plastic hammers have mysteriously disappeared, so I gave him the ice cream scooper to beat the ice into submission. It worked.

The smashing on the sheet resulted in a rainbow, too! Yay:

I see a Rainbow Yoda. What about you?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rainbow Scrape Painting

I was inspired by Happy Hooligans painted rainbows and Tribal Times magic rainbow, so I combined both ideas. I had to show Bobo how to scrape paint as we've never done it before. We used one of his play dough tools, or as he calls it "my knife." I think this would work wonderfully with a small ruler, like you can find at a local fair (for free).

Bobo did this one on his own:

We did this one together:

Surprisingly, Bobo did not ask to paint his whole body. He did request a footprint, though:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rainbow in a Jar

Here is what you'll need:

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup blue dish soap (or any blue liquid soap)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
3 mugs
1-quart jar
Red, blue and green food coloring

We used the instructions from How to Make a Liquid Rainbow by Lori Shores. We only used 1/4 cup of each ingredient, but I would recommend using 1/2 cup if you have enough of each ingredient. We are running low on olive oil. I also suggest using a funnel to add the "tilted" ingredients, because we spilled some of them down the side of the jar. Check out the book for an excellent explanation on density and follow-up questions.

You can do the first step in a mug, which would allow the recipe to use 3 mugs as suggested. Since corn syrup is so sticky, I'd just mix it in the jar, though. Pour 1/2 cup corn syrup into the jar. Stir in 1 drop each of blue and red food color. Next, slowly pour 1/2 cup blue dish soap into the jar. Pour 1/2 cup water into a mug and stir in 2 drops of green food color. Tilt the jar and slowly pour the green water along the inside of the jar. Then, slowly add 1/2 cup of olive oil into the jar. In another mug, stir 2 drops red food coloring into 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol. Tilt the jar and slowly add it.

I had a hard time capturing the rainbow on film, but it does show up in person. If you use the 1/2 cup instead of 1/4, it will also be more pronounced. This would be a great activity for a light table. We shone a flashlight through the rainbow to see the colors better.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tot School: Rainbows and Balloons

When I asked Bobo what he wanted to do for school next, he said, "Rainbows and balloons." I found more ideas than I thought possible. Children are fascinated with rainbows.

For the first activity, I filled the balloons with different small objects I had around the house. He had to shake the balloons and guess what was inside.

Then, I put out the cups with objects that were inside each balloon. From the left to right: play french fry, jingle bells, plastic necklace, foam ball and chocolate chips.

Bobo put the balloons on top of the cups he thought matched. Then, we cut them open to see if he was right. "Can we do it, again?" I think he liked it.