Thursday, September 30, 2010

H is for 'Hooray for Happy'

We made our Happy H using:
Chipboard cut from a cereal box for letter base
Orange construction paper and scissors
Happy Face Stickers
Glue: Stick

A happy book we like is:
Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae written by Brad Wilcox and illustrated by Julie Olson. Yet again, it was the cover that drew us to this book (because, really, books should be designed/illustrated with the purpose of being judged) and it has truly become one of my favorite books to read to my kids. It’s such a great story for teaching kids how to be their own cheerleader and not base their well-being on the praise they get from others (a major goal of mine with my children). I honestly think all parents should read this to their children. Beyond having a worthy moral, my kids loved the illustrations and thought Annie’s cowgirl jargon was funny.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

G is for Glitter and Gold

We made our Golden, Glittery G using:
Chipboard cut from a cereal box for letter base
Green construction paper
Gold craft glitter
Glue: stick, white Elmer’s for glitter

Glitter and Gold books we like:
I couldn’t think of a book all about glitter or one entirely dedicated to gold so I thought I’d offer two book recommendations; one with a little glitter and the other with a little gold. The first book is Alice the Fairy written and illustrated by David Shannon. This story is told in first person by young Alice, who is a fairy...or a wanna-be fairy anyway, she hasn't quite figured out how to make the piles of clothes on her floor dance onto hangers in her closet and things like that. The art work is typical to Shannon’s well known stories like No, David and David Gets in Trouble. Although this is a book about a fairy in training, my two boys adore it as all preschoolers, regardless of their gender, seem to have many of the same opinions on life.

Now for the gold…recently we read a pirate book called How I became a Pirate by Melinda Long but illustrated by David Shannon (which was initially why I chose this book). My kids ended up liking it and seemed to be able to relate well to the main character in this book as well. We have also read the sequel to this book which is called, Pirates Don't Change Diapers. My four year old liked how the two stories connected and said Pirates Don't Change Diapers was his favorite out of the two (I liked the first one best).

(More about Project A-B-C)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

F is for Funky Feathers

We made this Funky F using:
Chipboard from a cereal box for the letter base
Yellow construction paper and scissors
Colored craft feathers
Glue: white Elmer’s

A Feather book we like is:
Feathers for Lunch by Louis Elhert which is a charming book about one unlucky little cat who makes many attempts at catching a wild bird for lunch but only comes close enough to snack on a feather or two. The unique artwork in the book is beautifully simple and most of the birds are accurate in size to the bird it was modeled after. At the end of the story the reader is presented with a “scientific” description of each bird. Both my two and four year old enjoyed this book.

Speaking of birds, another book we like is actually called Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek. This is another simple yet charming book that even very young children can likely stay attentive for as it talks about different colors and sizes of birds. The book becomes subtly poetic before the end.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Monday, September 27, 2010

E is for Expendable Eggshells

We made this Egg-shelled E using:
Chipboard cut from cereal box for letter base
Purple construction paper and scissors
Broken Eggshells
Glue: stick and white Elmer’s for eggshells

An Eggy book we like is:
Egg Drop by Mini Grey. This is a story about an egg that is fascinated with flying but since he doesn’t yet have wings the egg’s endeavor to do so leads to his fatality. Attempts are made to repair the egg but much like Humpty Dumpty, he is unable to be put together again. The poor egg shell has become expendable, there is a bright side however, as you will find out when you read this story. My two year old was crazy about this book and wanted it read over and over.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

D is for Digging Dirt

We made this Dirty D using:
Cardboard from cereal box as letter base
White construction paper and scissors
Dirt from our backyard
Glue: white Elmer's

Dirt books we like:

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
In this book the family dog, Harry, hates taking baths so he hides the scrub brush and runs away. When he finally returns home, he is so dirty his own family doesn’t recognize him causing him to reconsider bathtime. This book was originally published in 1956 and hasn’t lost any appeal as far as we can tell.

Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
I’d like to recommend this book with a warning. …It was the hard backed cover’s illustration of four adorably dirty boars that caused me to snatch this book up in the library. My warning to you is that this book is irreverently comical as the reader becomes privy to the dangers of being friendly with ill-mannered, dirty, (pooping) boars. The illustrations throughout the book certainly did not displease. Personally I thought the crudeness was minor as it was embellished for silliness and as an adult, I was easily able to distinguish between intolerance for disgusting/disturbing behavior in cartoon animals from intolerance for real people who may exhibit a similar yet less exaggerated form of “bad-behavior” but while I was reading this to my children, my concern was that they would be unable to discern the same way. I suppose even more than recommend this book; I’d like to get your opinion. Have you read this book? Do you think I am being dramatic? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Also does anyone remember the book Dirty Feet by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Toni Hormann? I don’t own a copy nor does my library carry one but I remember it being one of my favorites as a kid.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

C is for Cruising Car

We made this Cruising Car using:
Chipboard cut from cereal box for letter base
Black and yellow construction paper and scissors
Matchbox car
Glue: stick and hot glue to adhere car

A car book we like is:
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. In this book a little boy describes to his dad all the things his car would do if he had the opportunity to design his own vehicle. The young boy has quite an imagination as his car comes equipped with things like a robot to act as driver, a snack bar and swimming pool just to name a few amenities. The car can also transform into other useful vehicles like an aircraft and submarine. This is a rhyming book with great illustrations. In fact, we have checked out all the Chris Van Dusen books our library offers and we have enjoyed them all.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Friday, September 24, 2010

B is for Buzzing Bee

We made this Bumbling B using:
Chipboard cut from a cereal box stock as letter base
Yellow construction paper and scissors
Glue: stick and hot glue for eyes
Black embossing powder (with embossing ink and heat source) for stripes on bee
Vellum paper for the wings
Googly eyes
Yellow pip cleaner and black felt for the antennae

Bee books we like:
Bee Wigged by Cece Bell is a sweet book about a giant bee that has trouble making friends because; although he is friendly and kind he is, well, a giant bee. One day he thinks his problems may be solved when he finds a wig lying on the street which he is able to use as a disguise to make friends but what happens when the wig falls off during the town parade? You’ll have to read and find out. Cute story about kindness and acceptance.

Another Bee book we love is called The Bee Tree by the wonderful Patricia Polacco. This story is about a young girl who is growing tired of her reading lessons. Her grandfather decides to give her a break while taking her on a bee tree hunt to find the bees honey. The bee chase and the scoring of honey provide the grandfather an opportunity to teach his granddaughter the value of reading as it is also a way to seek adventure and “sweetness.”  My 4 year old is able to appreciate the moral of the story (as well as the length) much more than does my 2 year old so I'd say it's best for ages 4 plus. As for me, I loved each and every illustration as usual with Polacco’s books.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A is for Antsy Ants

We made this Antsy Ants Capitol A using:
Chipboard cut from a cereal box for letter base
Vinyl table cloth (from dollar store)
Black felt and scissors to create ants
Glue: stick and Elmer’s white
Felt tip marker and pens for drawing legs on ant

Ant books we like:
Our favorite book about ants is one we actually own called, Hey little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose, Hannah Hoose and illustrated by Debbie Tilley. In this story a little boy comes close to ending the life of an ant by squishing him with his shoe. The story gets good when the ant trys to persuade the boy to preserve his life, comparing how similar his life is to the boy’s life. In the end of the book the readers are left to make the decision themselves whether the boy should save or squish the insect. It’s fun to see the kids respond to this question and to hear their justification for either answer as it’s not always the same. The words in the book are actually lyrics to a song that is preformed by the Hooses and you can find the melody to the song in the back of the book.

Speaking of songs about Ants, The Ants go Marching is a classic ditty for musical ant discussion and you can find a lot of books that correspond with the song. We own this one.

(More about Project A-B-C)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Project A-B-C

About this time last year I decided I wanted to create some type of alphabet art as d├ęcor for H’s playroom walls. On other blogs, I had seen parents crafting a “letter of the week” with their children, decorating the letter in a way that relates to the sound the letter makes. I thought decorating individual letters with H while talking about the shape and sound of a letter might be a good way to accomplish my goal and also provide a super simple learning opportunity for H. So that is exactly what we did.

Because I wanted the letters to become permanent fixtures to our walls—or at least at long as they lasted, we spent a good 20 minutes on many of our letters. Typically I would ask H what he could think of that started with the letter of the day and then we would create that thing within the shape of the letter using various supplies we already had at home.

We've spent most of the season outdoors this year and therefore I have unintentionally taken a summer vacation from blogging but since summer is officially over I thought it might be fun to make up for the lack of posting by sharing one of our letters here each day, describing the materials we used to create each letter as well as include a corresponding (choice) book we have checked out from the library.

Please come back each day to meet one of our capital letters.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chalk Board Wall

For the past couple summers I have been neglecting my aspiration to make the kids an outdoor, moveable chalkboard wall but this summer I was finally able to scratch the task off the to-do list. Yay!

I did a little blog research to find out how others accomplished this same pursuit. I was mostly taking note on what type of wood people were using but once I was at the home improvement store I ended up leaving with a bedroom door as a canvas for my soon-to-be chalk board. This actually worked out really well because unlike the wood planks I was considering, the door was already primed, the inside was hollow so although it was somewhat heavy it was hardly impossible to move and the price was well within my budget.

The door I picked out was 3 feet wide and we had one of the workers cut off a couple feet in the length of the door making it about 4 and a half feet long. This means, even though I am just over 5 ft tall, I can carry the board around lengthwise without too much difficulty.

When I brought home the supplies for the project, I figured the kids would be breaking out the chalk after lunch the next day but I didn’t consider the 4 hour time gap required between coats (I think I painted 3 coats just to be safe) and I really didn’t expect the 3 day time gap required before conditioning and writing on it but maybe that was just the brand of paint I bought which I purchased at Home Depot. For a finishing touch I painted the edges of the board with pink acrylic paint. I quite like the way it came out. (These photos aren’t the greatest but you get the idea. And don't worry, chalkboard writing is not as dangers as the pictures make it appear, my kids like to alternate chalk board writing with their skateboard riding—hence the helmets.)

Although I originally wanted this to be for outdoor use, we’ve enjoyed it indoors just as much and it does make a pretty sweet photo back drop as a bonus. 

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