Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Got any party blowers lying around the house?  Let's put it to use.  If you don't have a fun party blower, then you can use a wooden spoon, a magic wand, or maybe even a toy backhoe truck.

Lay out alphabet letters.  I used our magnetic plastic letters, but use whatever you have on hand.  You could even just print out or write the alphabet on paper and cut them into squares.  Place a piece of double side tape on each letter, or wrap each letter with tape so it's sticky side-out.
Letter Sounds:  Ask your child to flip out her party blower like a froggie and catch the letter of the sound you make.  "Catch the letter that says 'buh'"
Letter Starts:  Ask your child to use her wand to find the beginning letter of a word.  "What's the first sound/letter in BUBBLE?"  Of course, you can practice middle and ending sounds of words.
Spelling:  "Spell the word BOX" and have your child capture each letter with her wooden spoon to try to spell out a word.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Wow! Art masterpieces serenaded by the musical classics...slideshow and animation.  You really need to check it out!

You can access Van Gogh and Bach, Remington and Dvorak(a personal favorite Czech composer), Renoir and Geig slideshows when you click on the left tab "Art and Music".

I am especially excited about the "Go to the Museum" tab where you can find an artist and see several pieces of his work, read a biography and learn about the art movement of his time. 

There are animated stories, songs, puzzles, animated Beatrix Potter stories and even some great science links "Pexi has a question" and "Pluto Rap".  All of the above is offered free!  You can pay a yearly subscription to open more options, but this is a super start!

Thanks to http://TeachKidsArt.blogspot.com for the heads up on this great educational tool!

Friday, May 13, 2011


"THREE MONKS, Hok, Lok and Siew, traveled along a mountain road.  They  talked about cat whistkers, the color of the sun, and giving.  'What makes one happy, Siew?' asked Hok, the youngest monk. Old Siew, who was the wisest, said, 'Let's find out."...  And so begins the story told and beautifully illustrated by Jon J Muth.

Stone Soup will be the story that I share this summer with the children who are part of our summer reading group.  There are 10 moms who are each sharing a different story each week over summer break.  Each of us are hosting 20 kids one time at our home and then the kids get to visit a different home each week for another story book adventure.  The mom who is hosting the summer reading group that week prepares two hours of learning activities and a fun snack to go along with the book.  It's a great way to continue structured learning over the summer!  Email your friends today to organize your own summer reading group!  Below are some of the activities I'll be sharing this summer.  Here is a link to past summer reading group ideas: http://smmartideas.blogspot.com/search?q=summer+reading+group
I loved this idea when I saw it on Teach Kids Art.  She has the exact details on how to craft this fun style of book.  I put the story title and author on the front, and a picture of each child holding a wooden spoon.  The next page, each child glues three stones onto their pot and tapes the pot to the corner of the "window".  The next page shows the three monks.  The next page is a pile of vegetables that the villagers share to complete the soup.  The backdrop is a brown tree that each child glues little pieces of pink tissue paper on with the back of a pencil eraser.  I love how these storybook tunnel books turned out.
Get out those extra plastic knives...and some carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices...  Let's practice fractions!  Have everyone cut their cucumber slice in half.  Now help everyone cut their halves in half again so they have 4 pieces.  You can talk about 1/2 and 1/4.  You can have the children put two 1/4 together to make 1/2.  You get the idea.  Cut the celery stick into 3 equal pieces.  Have the children put 2 pieces together to make 2/3.  Each child can eat their fractions when they're done.
Yes, I know it's math, but I'm telling you that it's a lot more fun with rocks, or "stones".
Gather 20 stones for each group of 10 kids.  With a paint pen, paint the numbers 1-10 on half of the stones and paint dots to represent the numbers 1-10 on the other half of the rocks. 
GAME 1: Let each child grab two stones from a bowl or bag.  Each child then lays down one stone, number or dot side up.  Then they each try to find the stone lying on the floor that matches the stone in their hand and lay it down beside the one on the floor. 
GAME 2: Memory Match.  Place all of the stones number and dot-side down.  Each child can take turns turning over the rocks to make a match.  If they don't make a match, it's the next child's turn.  When a child makes a match, they can try again.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stained Glass Sculpture

Since we're in the Dale Chihuly mood, I found this great idea for making a faux glass sculpture at Frugal Family Fun Blog.

Cut a long piece of thin-guage wire and secure into a circle.  Place onto a piece of clear contact paper, so it's sticky side up.

Let your child adhere small pieces of tissue paper that they have previously cut or torn.

Adhere another piece of contact paper onto the back and cut around the edges of the wire.  Let your child bend her masterpiece into an exotic shape and hang in front of a window.  


Monday, May 2, 2011

SMMART ART: Dale Chihuly

We just came back from spring break, tagging along with my husband's business travel trip to Opelika, Alabama...so beautiful!  We had a lovely time swimming, playing on some super-fun playgrounds (hickory dickory and monkey park), exploring the Louise Kreher Ecological Preserve, Auburn University's campus, and visiting a few museums.  We were greeted by a stunning Dale Chihuly glasswork in the lobby of the Julie Collins Smith Fine Arts Museum that hung suspended from the ceiling, bathed in natural light from the skylights. 
You may be lucky enough to admire a Dale Chihuly masterpiece in a museum or garden around where you live.  Locals to the Salt Lake area can visit Abravenal Hall and introduce your children to his works.
Check out this video about Chihuly from the CBS early show:  (Kudos to http://TeachKidsArt.blogspot.com for the heads up on this video...check out her site-you'll love it!)


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