Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Happenings

Well it's my first day of my four day weekend for Christmas.  My Christmas present is I'm taking it easy, well as much as I can.  Chris and I and the extended family that we will NOT do gift exchanges.  Which is a huge relief!  We started our bathroom remodel project due to some major damage that needed tending to.  So we will be doing work little by little for a total update over the coarse of the year.  We pulled out the small stand up shower to find that the floor underneath had completely rotted away!!! Yikes!!

 During the demo work I was swamped at work with gifts to the kids and their parents, practices for Christmas programs, planning their Christmas party, attending the staffs, Organizing and putting on an Angel Tree for a family in our school, and putting on the book exchange Ohhh and the major unplanned stomach virus that left me sick in bed all last weekend.  Here it is Christmas Eve Eve and I have yet had two seconds to even step in a single store!  Planning to spend wonderful quality time with family on both sides at their house.... and putting up drywall and flooring.  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

Hand print Calender- parent gift

Another idea to got from various sources on pintrest.  I adapted to better fit 1. A Christian preschool 2. A week to get 9 of these made while still fitting in Christmas program practice and regular classroom routines in!!

Cover poem:

I know that you wipe some away
But these hand prints were made to stay.
One each month I made for you
Some are red, some are blue.
So keep them forever, a treasure they'll be.
A special "I Love You" from me.

for each month there was a picture made using hand print, palm print or finger prints.  I have seen several teacher's/parents use a poem for each month, but I used a Bible verse at the bottom of each calendar month.

Jan: Snowman
Feb: Heart
March: Shamrock
April: Umbrella
June: Caterpillar and butterflies- thumbprints
July: Sun
August: Fish
Sep: Apple- palm print
Oct: Pumpkin- palm print
November: Turkey
December: Christmas tree

I wasn't happy with the item I used to bind them together, I used plastic like key ring hoops, the metal book rings would have done much better or using a binding system.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candy cane play dough- Gifts for my K4 students

I found this idea on pintrest Here is the link to the blog where I found it:

Each year for Christmas I usually will get each one of my students a book as a gift from me.  I spend all year building a foundation in which to build a reader and good student, and always thought as a good teacher I will help promote this by helping build home libraries.  At my new school all four of the K4 classes do a book exchange (will post more on this on another post) so felt I would find a "new" tradition.  When I came across this a light went on!!  Perfect!!  Play dough for young children is a Magical toy and SOOO secretly educational! Add to the fact that we spend a day of our December curriculum talking about the meaning of candy cane, this was just a must do gift. 

Benefits of a child playing with play dough:
1. Exercises those fine muscles in their fingers making them stronger so those little fingers will have the strength to hold a pencil and write.
2.  Anger management.  About the only thing a child can crush, beat, smash and work out any and all frustrations they may have without getting into trouble.
3.  Hands on learning, Rolling snakes and forming them into letters, number, shapes and figures.
4.  Cause and effect skills
5. Communication skills are formed as they talk about what they are doing, new words and concepts are learned when adults talk with them about what they are doing.  (NEVER ask your child "what is it?"  instead ask "Tell me about what you are making.")
6.   Help builds a child's self-esteem.  There is no wrong or right way to play with it, and how you play with it is only limited to your own imagination.
7.  Which brings to the next benefit, it foster a child's imagination- play dough is the BEST open ended toy!
8.  Attention holder.  From my experience working with young children, play dough holds children's attention a lot longer then I can safely say 95% of any toy in their room.

This is for those of you who reject the idea of allowing your child to play with play dough due to the mess it caused... these benefits will I promise be well worth it.

Homemade Play dough Recipe:

There are soo many recipes and so many different things you can add for texture, color, and smell.  This is my favorite base recipe that I feel is simple, and even better the kids can help make it.

No-Cook Play Dough
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tbsp oil
1 and 1/2 cup water
for candy cane dough you will need red food coloring and peppermint extract

Mix oil and food color together before adding to dry mixture. Mix until pliable. Keep in container or plastic bag.
Add a tiny amount of water to dough that is too dry until reaches the correct consistency.

To make this into candy cane play dough mix in a few drops of peppermint extract, either mix all ingredients together without food coloring then split dough in half and kneed several drops of red food coloring in one half and leave the other half it's natural color.  Or make two batches one natural and one mixed with red food coloring.  (Be warned that kneading dough by hand with food coloring will dye your/ your child's hands!!)  
To make it special kneed in some multi colored glitter!

The balls of dough in this pic were too big, I spilt each in half

I used 8oz mason jars.  A box of 12 with lids and labels at Wal-Mart for under $8.  Taking about an amount a little larger than a golf ball of both the white and red dough making two long snakes, then twisting together.  Then, carefully feed into the jar in a circling pattern.  Make sure you have some extra to play with to master your technique to get the right look if making for gifts.  12 mason jars doesn't hold as much dough as I thought, you made for 2 batches is enough.  I did 4 and pretty sure I had enough left over to do another 12!! 

When done, Use a cute candy cane printed fabric square in the lid.  I added to the fun by tying an inexpensive Christmas cookie cutter to each jar with a ribbon.

The Legend of the Candy Cane: