Leaf Rubbing “Peek-a-Boo” Books

The kids and I turned a leaf rubbing session into little books. 

We do nature journaling, and value recreating nature though drawing as part of our study… but leaf rubbing is such a fun, low pressure way for the littles to interact with the leaves and transfer their image to paper.

The leaf hunting, collecting, and rubbing are all fun phases that lead up to the book making. The books function as a tool to learn the names of leaves and to practice writing. 

With the books we made, the rubbing is on the outside. One can flip it open to see the name of the plant the leaf comes from. I wrote the name small, and left room for my child to practice. 


We adapted the activity from a “peek-a-boo” book activity I received from education.com. I’m posting the original activity below and you can see how we made it our own.
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Peek-a-boo Book Activity

Does your preschooler love to play hide-and-seek? Is he always trying to name things he doesn’t know the words for? Then this is the activity for you! Build a peek-a-boo book and give your child a vocabulary and reading boost, on the fly!


What You Need:

10 lined index cards

2 pieces of colored construction paper

pencil

hole punch

safety scissors

10 pieces of yarn (each about 5 inches long)

crayons

What You Do:

Help your child to fold 1 piece of colored construction paper into 8 sections. First fold it in half, then fold that in half once more, and then fold the remainder in half again. This should create 8 sections about the size of a 3×5 index card. Do the same thing with the other piece of construction paper. Have your child use her safety scissors to cut out the sections on the folded lines. You should have 16 pieces in all when finished (this gives you a few extras in case of mistakes!)

Let your child know that she’s going to create her own Hide-and-Seek game…inside a book. This Peek-A-Boo book will allow her to practice matching pictures with their names. She’ll “hide” each picture under an index card, with its name written on top.

Ask your child to help you make the first card by thinking of her favorite animal, then using crayons to draw a picture of it on one of the cut out pieces of construction paper. When she’s done, ask her the name of her animal, and help her write it in pencil on one of the index cards. Using a hole punch, punch two holes in the top of both the lined index card and the picture card. With your child’s help, bind them together using two pieces of yarn—the lined index card should be on top of the picture card.

Repeat this process for each of the following objects, in order to create a total of ten small Peek-a-Boo books.

Once your child gets the hang of it, you can use these materials to create multiple stories. You can also have her write longer books. Take down what she says and choose one word of each sentence to highlight in a different color. Then make that words the picture that’s “hiding”. These books are a great way to practice vocabulary and grow reading skills. And they also make a cute gift for for a far-away relative!

For more reading related games at education.com
https://www.education.com/games/ela/reading/

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Remains of Small Blue Egg

Under a tree in the front yard I noticed a piece of blue egg. Before picking it up, I waited. I let the girls (almost 5yrs old and almost 3 years old) discover it in it’s resting place instead of in my hand.

Finding the remains of a robin’s eggs always felt special to me. Like some bright blue treasure left behind. Seeing robins,too, for the first time in spring each year has a particular feel, like both nostalgia and renewal and hope maybe? The magic of the first robin was dulled for me, though, two winters ago I realized we had a flock of robins living in the neighborhood who never left… 

It’s something precious, to witness these little moments in their lives, the finding of a bit of blue egg, the rituals that mark the changing of seasons. They lay foundations that are so much more than the crust once housing a developing bird. We base metaphors on such things as this.

Homage to the Dandelion Tributes

Spring has brought with it rain, insects, spiders, birds birds birds, and flowers. One flower in particular has crossed my path with the same persistence with which it grows through my lawn: the mighty dandelion.


My children, particularly the younger, have been taken by the bright burst of yellow. But let’s not forget about “the fluffy.” When the dandelion goes to seed and appears as a sphere of fluff on a stem. My 4 year old describes this fluff halo as the “atmosphere” and the seeds as “the earth.”

I have found dandelions in the washing machine, in my pockets, left as tribute in various locations inside and outside of the house, in the car intact, in the car with all the petals scattered about, and then there’s the seeds from the “fluffies…”

It’s like a treasure hunt. And it will last all summer long…



Painting Wooden Eggs (kids)

For the past two years we’ve painted wooden eggs for our family Easter egg hunt. Last year we started writing the name of the artist (Mom, dad, child) on the bottom of the egg. Painting the eggs provides a fun activity that can last weeks if you do a couple at a time here and there. Right now my kids only have enough attention span to do one or two eggs in a session. Factor in a base coat, then decorating with dots or stripes or whatever once it dries… preparing a dozen wooden eggs has been totally worth it for us. 


An added bonus is that, unlike perishable eggs, the painted wooden eggs last for years. As our inventory grows, so will the extent of the hunt 🙂 This is our third year so we’ll have 36 large wooden eggs.


Evening in the Art Room


Older Daughter was in the art room using a splatter paint technique that initially made me cringe a little. As the watered down paint hit the wall beyond the canvas I told her I would feel more comfortable with splatter of this magnitude being performer outside… I emphasized that this was possible, but we would need to set up, and dress appropriately. Daughter reminded me that we were in the art room, and that this is a space to make a mess in. 

Too right.

That is why we created this room and titled it so. We put down the puzzle piece floor to protect the wood and figured the walls would be painted again anyway. So I gave daughter the green light to continue with her splattering.

She is presently sick with a fever and found an old syringe from a Motrin bottle of years gone by… she asked if she could use it to squirt paint…. Of course!


For those without a dedicated space where you can take this kind of mess/ risk of disaster, I’d recommend doing this  outside. I do recommend it, though. 

You can gain more shelf life by watering down the paint a little, and buy super cheap craft paint. These Motrin syringes though, they really stepped up the fun. I needed that for my sick kid today. 🙂

Of Salt-Dough Ornaments and the Use of Glitter

We made salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree. 


Something I liked about this project was that there are different phases. Make the dough, roll and cut shapes, break while ornaments cook for three hours. Paint, break while they dry. Paint more, add glitter, break while they dry. Varnish. 

It took us days to finish, we would break and do other things and pick up where we left off another day.

By the time we were done cutting shapes, kids were already making up their own project (breaking remaining dough into tiny pieces and playing with them) so the breaks are good.


Painting the ornaments we used acrylic paint and I let them pick their own colors from a larger selection of paints that would not mix together to make brown.


At some point we decided that glitter would be a part of this project. I want to caution people that opening a jar of glitter is akin to opening a Pandora’s box of sparkling content that cannot be put back in. You cannot undo glitter.



I got my recipe from this site:

http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-make-salt-dough-ornaments/
1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt 

1/2 cup water

Mix, kneed, roll out to 1/4 inch and cut with cookie cutters

Bake for 2-3 hours

Bam.

I used more than half a cup of water but I’m not sure how much honestly and I cooked them for three hours. I found it really hard to roll out. And kind of clumpy, but maybe it’s they way I added the ingredients together. 

Good luck, Have a blast.

This is what a Real Hand Looks Like


So I’m sitting in the kitchen on the couch (because yes, we have a couch in our kitchen) and I’m working on a pencil sketch storyboard situation for a project. My 4yo daughter becomes interested, sits next to me and observes.

She asks questions as I draw, we talk about the story. She then becomes very focused on the hands of the figures I’m drawing. She’s concerned that they are not realistic. I begin to explain that I’m in basic stick figure mode at this point, and she offers me her hand.

“Mummy, this is what a real hand looks like. Draw this.”

Thanks, kid.