Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Icy Alphabet Hunt

Well, we are working on Letter Q Activities this week and it is HARD thinking of ways to incorporate this letter. We've focused mostly on "Queen" this week, and since we love Queen Elsa who freezes things, a lot of frozen activities are coming your way. Today, I told my boys we were doing a letter review activity, but we were in big trouble because Queen Elsa froze them! My boys (ages 3 & 22 months) were both so excited when I brought out our ice covered letters with salt and warm, colored water to play with. My three said, "Wow! Elsa really froze these letters!"


  • Plastic Letters (I bought ours at the Dollar Tree)
  • Plastic Bowl
  • Play Tools - hammers & screwdrivers
  • Salt
  • Water, mixed with food coloring or liquid watercolors
  • Pipettes or Twisty Droppers
  • Optional: Alphabet Paper (to match the letters - see below)


    1) Fill a bowl with water and plastic letters. Our plastic letters float, so I froze the water in three different levels. The first level is shown below. I added a little water and a few letters into a bowl and popped the bowl in the freezer for a few hours. When the water was frozen, I added the second level. More water and more letters and popped the bowl back in the freezer. And then the third level.

    2) Once your letters are all frozen, remove the bowl from the freezer. The ice from the red bowl came right out when I tipped it upside down, but the pink bowl needed a little help. I held the bowl upside down and ran warm water over the bottom of the bowl until it popped out.

    3) Prepare your play area. I placed a paper towel under the ice mound, so it wouldn't slide around. We added a toy hammer and screwdriver, salt and warm colored water with twisty droppers. Let your child explore in his/her own way. 

    Pictures & Ideas of How to Play:

    My boys started working at the ice with their hammers, but this didn't work quite as planned. Keep the hammers out, because once the ice starts to melt they will come in handy!

    Next, we added ice and squeezed our warm, colored water onto the ice mound. Aren't these pictures beautiful!? Note: It took some time for our ice mounds to melt. Perhaps a little too long. Next time I'll remember that "less is more" and use a smaller bowl, so the letters can come out quicker.

    Once we got the first letter out, my three matched it to our alphabet paper. I helped my 22 month old find the letters and identified them for him. At this point, he thinks every letter is a Q. Haha. I put the paper in a plastic sleeve, since the letters would most likely be wet.

    It took more than salt and warm, colored water to get out letters out, so I filled our pink bowl up with warm/hot water which helped melt the ice the quickest. When our mound of ice came out, it looked like the picture above. I love the science and fun hands on learning in this activity!

    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    Letter P Activities (ages 3 & 22 months)

    Here are our Letter P Activities for a three year old and a 22 month old: 

    Read, Read, Read. I love reading to my kids on a daily basis. I'll usually alternate reading during a meal time, before naps or randomly in the day. I checked out our Letter P Booklist at the library a week in advance. The picture above were our very favorite books, but you view more great Letter P books by clicking on the booklist link. 

    Read Letter P Book. We also love to read these Little Letter Books from The Measured Mom. For my three, we focus on the big and little letters at the beginning of each page. My 22 month old especially loves these books! He enjoys looking at the pictures and repeating the words after me on each page. 

    Letter P Songs & Rhymes. This year, I'm putting together an interactive set of songs & rhymes for each letter of the alphabet. My three and my 22 month old love ACTION songs the best, so we are doing mostly those (without a lot of props) now. Click the link to view our Letter P Songs & Rhymes. If you're looking for something more simple, take a look at this printable set of songs and rhymes from The Measured Mom.

    Writing Practice. Every child is different, but my three loves writing letters! We practiced writing the Letter P's with "Letters of All Sizes" from The Measured Mom. I printed and slipped ours into a sleeve protector, so my three could erase and write these over again if he wanted. My 22 month old used a dot marker to dot P's on a piece of paper. "Can you dot this P?" 

    Craft #1: Three Little Pig Houses from Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten. We love the story of The Three Little Pigs, so my boys were so excited about this craft! My three clearly went all out on this one. We used strips of yellow tissue paper for the straw, popsicle sticks for the sticks and red felt squares (I cut these out) for the bricks.

    Craft #2: After reading 'Perfectly Percy' from our Letter P Booklist, we did this darling book related craft. I drew an oval for my 22 month old and my three drew his own oval on a piece of white card stock. They dipped a fork in brown paint and stamped it to make spikes on their porcupines. They glued on googly eyes, a helmet and a yellow balloon. My three drew his own arms, balloon string and letter P.

    Craft #3: Coffee Filter Peacocks from Glue to my Crafts Blog. My boys both enjoyed this craft, especially since it involves a squirt bottle. I let them have a little too much fun with the squirt bottle indoors, and will hope for better weather soon! Click the link for a tutorial.

    Color Review - Penguin Winter Clothes Color Match from Totschooling. Aren't these the cutest little penguins? My boys took turns drawing a hat, identifying the color (I helped my 22 month old and him repeat the color after me) and matching it to the correct penguin.

    Math - Glowing Play Dough Shapes. I couldn't pass "Letter P Activities" without making play dough. To put a different spin on our usual play dough, we made play dough that glows under a black light! We have been playing with it (with and without a black light) all week. For this activity, I bought a set of shape cutters and used a few other shape cutters I had from home to make this into a shape review activity. This counted as our science activity as well. Click the link for a tutorial.

    Math - Piggy Bank Counting. I found this little pig at the Dollar Tree. My three drew a number and placed the same amount of pennies in the piggy bank. My 22 month old drew a number (only 1-3) and I helped him count the pennies as he placed them in the piggy bank. I love that this is a fine motor activity as well.

    Sensory Play - Snowy Penguins Play. We always have the best time with sensory play. This snow only has two ingredients and so easy to put together. It molds into balls (penguin eggs) and snow castles with stacking blocks. It's even cool to the touch and so soft. Click the link for a tutorial. 

    Letter Pp Activity #1 - Magnetic Pom Pom Fill. I printed and taped both pictures above (from This Reading Mama) onto our fridge and my boys filled the circles with magnetic pom poms. I made the pom poms by sticking magnets on them - next time I'll glue gun the magnets on, so they'll have a better hold.

    Beginning Sounds: Beginning sounds has been one of my goals I've wanted my three to work on this year. He has really picked up on them, so we started a program for very early readers called "Reading the Alphabet" from This Reading Mama. We're slowly going through it and I've been so impressed by the program. Click the link to find out more.

    Letter P Science - Glow Dough. As mentioned above, we made play dough this week that glows under a glow light! We have been playing with it (with and without a black light) all week - seriously we've been playing for hours. I brought out different play dough items on different days, like our Play Dough Crazy Cuts (kids can grow hair and cut it, show above), shape cookie cutters, and this Dentist Drill n Fill Set.

    Alphabet as a Whole - Pirate Alphabet Hunt. We have been on a pirate kick lately and my boys LOVED this sensory bin and alphabet review. There was so much learning going on in one bin - scooping and pouring, letter recognition and matching, colors, pretend play, counting coins, etc. Click the link for a tutorial.

    Name Review - My three can recognize his name easily at this point, so I made it easy this week. While we were playing with play dough this week, I wrote his name in play dough and had him repeat the letters and identify his name.

    And that's it!

    How to make GLOW DOUGH

    We are working on Letter P Activities this week, and I had to include play dough in the mix. My boys love play dough and we play with it often, however we've never played with glowing play dough! We've been playing all week with this amazing play dough recipe (with and without our glow light) and a bunch of different play dough accessories - like these shape cookie cuttersPlay Dough Crazy Cuts (kids can grow hair and cut it), and this Dentist Drill n Fill Set. So much learning is involved with play dough. A big thanks to Fun at Home with Kids for this great recipe.

    • A Blacklight
    • Glow Vitamin
    • Flour
    • Water
    • Vegetable Oil
    • Cream of Tartar
    • Salt

    1) Open two glow vitamin capsules. Add the vitamin powder to 2 cups of flour, 4 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar, and 2/3 cup of salt in a large saucepan and mix until very well combined. 

    2) Next, add 2 cups of warm water and 2 Tablespoons of cooking oil to the saucepan. Whisk this extremely well until there are no lumps. Cook on medium heat until the play dough completely holds together and is no longer sticking to the pan or your spatula. 

    Note: If you're not sure if it's done, take a small bit in your hands (adult only - the play dough is quite hot) and roll it. It should not stick and should have a firm store bought play dough texture. If it is smooshy or sticky, keep cooking it! Once it is fully cooked, allow it to cool for several minutes. Have an adult thoroughly knead it to make sure there aren't any remaining hot spots before handing it over to a child.

    The pictures aren't great quality and don't give justice to how neat this activity was! Here are a few pictures anyway and few ideas of how to play (more to come!):

    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Letter P: Booklist

    A list of our favorite Letter P books:

    The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent: This book is about a caterpillar that goes around telling everyone that she's going to turn into something else one day. The polliwog is intrigued and later finds out he's going to turn into something else one day, too, and assumes it will be a butterfly. As the caterpillar spins her cocoon, the polliwog anxiously waits until he looks in the reflection and realizes he's a beautiful frog. 

    Perfectly Percy by Paul Schmid: This it the cutest story of a little porcupine who loves balloons. But, there's one problem.. Every time she gets a balloon it pops on her sharp quills. She's determined to find a solution to fix the problem. We did a cute craft going along with this book you can view here

    Pete's a Pizza: This is a story about a boy, named Pete, who was hoping to play baseball outside with his friends, but it started to rain. In hopes to cheer Pete up, his father decides to make Pete into a human pizza. First, he kneads the dough. Then, he throws the dough up in the air. Next, he adds tomatoes (but they're really just checkers). I love the humor in this book. It made me want to make my kids into a human pizza.

    Pigs Love Potatoes by Anika Denise: This book is about a pig family who love potatoes. One by one, the children (and neighbors!) come in and ask the mama for potatoes. They help wash the potatoes, peel them, and eat them. The mama only requires one thing once they're done... a kiss on the cheek and to clear their plates. 

    The True Story Of The 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka: This book tells the wolf's side of the classic story of the Three Little Pigs. Have you ever wondered if the wolf was framed for something he didn't really do? This book is a fun twist on the Three Little Pigs. My boys loved it. We did a craft along with this book you can view here.

    The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems: This was one of the most requested books to read from our booklist, and we all loved it. It's about a pigeon who wants a puppy, but doesn't quite understand what that entails. The pigeon says the funniest things and has a conversation with the reader. We love the humor in this book.

    Shiver Me Letters - A Pirate ABC by June Sobel: This was another book that was requested A LOT to read this week. It's about pirates that are on a hunt to find all the letters of the alphabet. The find them in the water, buried in the sand, in a treasure chest, etc. It's a great letter review book and my boys love pirate stories. My boys LOVED this Pirate Alphabet Hunt to go along with this book. 

    Piggies by Audrey Wood: We loved this book, because it goes along with the Five Little Piggies action rhyme. You know the one... "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy ate roast beef, this little piggy ate none, but this little piggy went WEE WEE WEE all the way home." 

    Pigsty by Mark Teague: This book is about a little boy that doesn't like to clean his room. However, the more messy it gets, the more pigs show up. Eventually there are so many pigs and so many things tossed around his room, that he hardly has room to sleep on his bed. He finally realizes that his room needs to be cleaned and asks the pigs to help him before they leave.

    The Princess And The Pea by Janet Stevens: This was another highly requested book to read this week. It's a spin on the classic story, only with animals. The queen is on the hunt to find a "real princess" for her son to marry. They go all over the world to find one, but none are quite good enough. One night a princess shows up at the palace and the queen places a pea under her mattresses. The princess can't sleep the entire night. "Only a real princess would have such delicate skin to notice a pea under the mattress." It's a quick read and ours came with a read along CD, which my boys love. 

    Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester: Another book my boys loved reading this week! It's about an island full of "perfect penguins". All except Tacky. Tacky is an odd bird and does things differently than all the other birds. However, his odd nature is extremely helpful when hunters come. We loved the humor in this story. To go along with this book, we made a Snowy Penguins bin for sensory play this week. My boys LOVED it.

    Pirates of the Sea by Brandon Dorman: My boys are way into pirates right now, so they really enjoyed reading about these pirates' adventure to find gold. It uses a lot of pirate vocabulary, but my boys didn't seem to mind. We loved the illustrations and learned The Pirate Song to go along with this book. 

    Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White: This is a bit longer book, but I read it during lunch one day and my boy didn't seem to mind the length. It's about a woman who is sick of pumpkins. One day a truck full of pumpkins drives by and a pumpkin splatters in her front yard. She ignores the pumpkin all winter and in the spring she realizes her entire front yard is covered in pumpkins! Even though she dislikes pumpkins, she decides to bake them and turn them into yummy treats for the town.

    Image result for press here book

    Press Here by Herve Tullet: We own this book and my boys (especially my three) love it. It's a book that involves child interaction. "Push here." The child pushes the yellow dot and it turns into three yellow dots on the next page. "Now rub the dot on the right." The child rubs the dot on the right and the dot turns blue on the next page. Etc.

    Wednesday, April 5, 2017

    Letter P: Songs & Rhymes

    Here's a list of our Letter P songs:

    1) The Pirate Song from Let's Play Music Kids.
    • Sing this song with actions. You can watch a video of the song with actions in the link provided above.
    When I was one, I sucked my thumb, the day I went to sea.
    I climbed aboard a pirate ship and the captain said to me...
    I'm going this way that way, forwards and backwards, over the Irish Sea.
    A bottle of run to fill my tum, now that's the life for me.

    "When I was two I buckled my shoe" and then I went to sea
    I climbed aboard a pirate ship and the captain said to me...
    I'm going this way that way, forwards and backwards, over the Irish Sea
    A bottle of run to fill my tum, now that's the life for me.

    V3: "When I was three I bashed my knee"
    V4: "When I was four I scrubbed the flour"
    V5: "When I was five I went for a dive"

    2) Patty Cake.
    • I always hold my kids on my lap and do the actions with them.
    Patty cake, patty cake,
    Bakers man.
    Bake me a cake
    As fast as you can.
    Pat it and prick it,
    And cross it with a "B".
    Then throw it in the oven,
    for baby and me!

    3) Pop goes the Weasel.

    • I printed a picture of a weasel and taped it onto one of the rockets to our stomp rocket toy. On the word "pop!" my boys would step on the red compressor and pop the weasel into the air. They loved this.
    All round the mulberry bush,
    The monkey chased the weasel.
    The monkey thought twas all in good fun,
    "POP!" goes the weasel.

    4) Five Little Piggies.

    • Wiggle your child's toes (or fingers) one by one as you sing this song. My 22 month old especially loves this rhyme.

    This little piggy went to market.
    This little piggy stayed home.
    This little piggy roast beef.
    This little piggy had none.
    This little piggy went WEE, WEE, WEE all the way home.

    5) Five Little Penguins (youtube).

    • After watching the youtube version of this show, we sang the song while playing in our Snowy Penguin sensory bin. We built a hill with our "snow" and re-enacted the song with our toy penguins. Click here to view our Snowy Penguins tutorial.
    Five little penguins waddling around,
    The snow was slippery and one fell down.
    Wee! to the water to play,
    Leaving four little penguins waddling today.

    Four... Three... Two...

    One little penguin waddling around,
    The snow was slippery and he fell down.
    Wee! to the water to play,
    Leaving five little penguins swimming today.

    Snowy Penguins

    My boys LOVED this snowy penguins sensory bin! This homemade "snow" is really a lot of fun to play with. So much fun, that I had to join in on the fun. I think the best part about it is that it's moldable. We could make snow balls, "penguin eggs" to hide baby penguins inside of, a snow hill for the penguins to slide down and snow castles (made from stacking cups). The texture feels cool to the touch, just like real snow. And did I mention the snow only is TWO ingredients? We played for over and hour and had so much fun. Thank you to Mommas Fun World for another wonderful idea.

    • Large Plastic Bin
    • 9 cups baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups white hair conditioner - I bought ours from the Dollar Tree
    • Toy Penguins
    • Additional Items: Stacking Cups, Plastic Spoons, Rocks, Blue Gems (pretend water)

    1) Mix baking soda and hair conditioner together well. You can do this right in your plastic bin, so you don't have to wash an additional bowl. The mixture should be moldable - add a little more baking soda or hair conditioner if needed.

    2) Prepare your sensory bin and watch you children explore.

    3) Ideas for Play: My boys favorite part of the sensory bin was when I'd hide a penguin in a ball of snow - making a penguin egg. My three used a knife to cut open the egg (pictured below). They also enjoyed making snow castles with our stacking cups and placing penguins on top (pictured below). We also build a large hill and sang our song "Five Little Penguins" while re-enacting the song. 

    A Few Pictures: