Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Busy Bag Exchange

Have you hosted or participated in a busy bag exchange before?  I never had, but wanted to try it out!  I am part of a pretty active mom's group, and we do most of our communications on Facebook.  So I posted, asking if anyone was interested in doing a a swap, hoping maybe 8-10 moms would be interested.  To my surprise, 17 moms indicated interest!

To keep it organized, I created a Google doc with all the participants names and what activity they were bringing.  I also wrote a few guidelines.  Some of the ideas for guidelines came from Second Story Window.  Here are the guidelines for our swap:

  • Please put your items in a ziplock bag and label the outside with the name of your activity.
  • Please include a set of directions in your bag.  Even if it seems really self explanatory, please write a sentence or two description on how it can be used.
  • Please keep the cost of each bag around $1 or under.
  • You do NOT need to laminate any papers included.  If possible, print any papers on cardstock so they will last.
  • Put together the quality kind of bag you would want to receive in return. This is really important to remember! Of course we want to be cheap but we also want the activity to hold up to toddler use.
  • If you cannot attend our swap night, please give your bags to me or another participant before the swap night.  We will include your bags in the swap and get your new activities to you!

How did it turn out?  It was a huge success!  All the moms were excited to participate.  16 moms sat around my living room on a Saturday morning, enjoying some time catching up and exchanging a variety of activities!

I was so pleased with the variety of activities and the quality of the bags!  Here are the bags that were swapped!

Animal counter sorting using tweezers
Button lacing and number practice from See Vanessa Craft
Clothespin color matching from Rookie Mom
Make a felt pizza
Copying shapes and patterns with yarn on felt from Momtastic
Wiffle ball lacing and weaving from See Vanessa Craft
Fish and frog sorting and patterning
Pom pom push
Lacing cards
Velcro craft sticks to make shapes and letters
Button snake from Motherhood on a Dime
Counting with googley eyes
Clothespin number wheel from Money Saving Mom
Shape memory from Delighting in Today
Felt roads
Crazy straw weaving from Powerful Mothering
Make a felt sandwich
Caterpillar counting from Powerful Mothering
If you have been thinking about hosting or participating in a busy bag swap, I highly recommend it!

To see more busy bag ideas, check out my Pinterest board.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Preschool- Pumpkins Week 2

More pumpkins in January!  This was our second week of our pumpkin unit.  Be sure to check out week one, too!

For this activity, I wrote out the word pumpkin really big on piece of construction paper.  First, Little Guy had to identify all the letters.  Then, using tweezers, Little Guy had to move the candy pumpkins to the letters, covering the letters up.  This activity took a bit of time, but he really enjoyed doing it, and especially enjoyed getting to eat one pumpkin when he was done!

Another fine motor activity he did was spooning.  I place some orange glass beads in a bowl and he had to use his spoon to transfer them to the pumpkin tray.

An art project we made was a pumpkin pocket. This idea came from Fantastic Fun and Learning.   Little Guy painted one and a half paper plates orange.  Then he laced them together to make a little pocket.  We added a green pipe cleaner to the top as the stem.  I'm sorry I don't have a picture of his completed pocket.

Our next activity was counting and number recognition.  I had some foam pumpkins, on which I wrote one number, from one to six.  Little Guy had to put that many little pumpkin erasers on the foam pumpkin.

Another counting activity we did involved a die.  Little Guy would roll the die, count the dots to see what number he rolled, then put that many pumpkin erasers into the mini ice cube tray.  This was fun, as we could take turns rolling or Little Guy could play all by himself.

Since Little Guy enjoyed this activity so much from last week, we had to bring it out again this week!  We had a fun time singing "Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate" and taking the pumpkins off and on!

This next activity was a great patterning activity.  Using the orange and green wooden beads that I painted for last week, Little Guy had to put them on a pipe cleaner.  But instead of simply stringing them, he made an AB pattern.  I helped him to get started with the pattern, but by the end he was putting them on in the correct order by himself.  He was very proud of himself when we has done!

Our last activity was a ring toss from Inner Child Fun.  We picked out some pumpkins that had some tall, straight stems specifically so we could do this.  I took some rings off of canning jars and Little Guy had to toss the rings onto the pumpkin stems.  This actually was a lot harder than I thought it would be!  Little Guy did manage to get a few rings on, but the ring tossing action is much different than the throwing action we usually use, so we gave up after a little while.

So that wraps up our Pumpkin theme!

Check out my Pinterest board for more ideas!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Preschool- Pumpkins Week 1

Pumpkins in January?  Yes, that's right! Well, kind of.  This was for the pumpkin unit we did way back in October, but I never shared with you!  So, here it is now!  Little Guy is 39 months old.

Little Guy loves puzzles.  This was a 24 piece puzzle, so he had a little trouble working on it.  I helped to guide him by helping him to see the different vegetables in the pictures.

This was the first time we used count and clip cards.  It is great for one to one correspondence and number recognition.  Theses are from the Gift of Curiosity.

This may have been the favorite activity of the unit.  Using a hammer and some pin nails, Little Guy hammered some buttons onto a foam pumpkin.  This was great fine motor practice and took a lot of concentration on Little Guy's part.  I found these foam pumpkins last year at the dollar store.

What pumpkin unit would be complete without some Halloween printables?  We used do-a-dot printable, some cutting practice, and a pumpkin/ jack-o-lantern sort.  The cutting practice and sorting is from the pumpkin pack at 1+1+1=1.

We've been continuing to practice our knife skills by cutting grapes.  Little Guy really enjoys "preparing" his own snack.

We continue to practice spooning.  Little Guy had to spoon pumpkins (orange and green wooden beads) from one bowl to another. He's getting pretty good at this!

I made this clothespin pumpkin activity to go with the song "5 Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate." This idea came from Still Playing School.  In addition to moving the pumpkins and singing the song, I also found a short animated version of the song on YouTube that Little Guy enjoyed watching and acting out.  This was probably his other favorite activity of the week.

Need more pumpkin ideas?  Don't worry, more are coming soon!

In the meantime, visit my Pinterest board.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

12 from 2014

Happy New Year!

Here is a quick review of our year in pictures!
January- All bundled up to ride his bike!
February- The beautiful Valentine's card Little Guy and Daddy made for me!
March- Napping in the car seat.
April- Happy Easter!
May- I completed my second ever 10K.
June- Little Guy turned 3!
July- Little Guy and mommy at swim lessons.
August- Hunting for bugs with Daddy at Bug Day.
September- Getting in a fire truck at Touch A Truck!
October- A family trip to the zoo!
November- Playing in the season's first snowfall!
December- Merry Christmas!
Here's to a wonderful 2015!