Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: September 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Sunday Showcase 9/29/12 - Fall Tree Crafts

  The Sunday Showcase - Fall Trees Edition
are the STARS of the show!

The Sunday Showcase

The Sunday Showcase is hosted on FIVE blogs!

Each blog showcases their own features (from the previous week's linky) so be sure to check them all out!

If you are here for the first time please read this informational post for the full details. Anything kid friendly and/or child centered is welcome! You are welcome to share more than one post, but we don't accept links for giveaways,  shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. They will be deleted.

If you're linking up we encourage you to visit some of the other links! Everyone appreciates comments, encouragement, feedback, etc. One of the co-hosts will visit your link & spread some comment love. We also share some on Facebook, Twitter & our Pinterest board!  

Please note that by linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section and on our Pinterest board!  If you prefer not to be featured simply comment below or e-mail me to let us know.

The Showcase Features:
Fall Trees
I seriously loved all the fun fall themed crafts & activities linked up to last week's linky but these Fall Trees totally caught my eye and I just had to feature them &  share them with you.

I Heart Crafty Things shared this awesome Puzzle Piece Fall Tree
All Done Monkey whipped up this cute Paper Roll Fall Tree 
Tippy Toe Crafts made a Pretzel Stick Fall Tree
Sugar Snips made these awesome Bath Time Foam Fall Trees

Do you have a favorite pumpkin or witch craft, recipe, play or learning activity? Please share in the comments below.

If you have been featured, grab a button you deserve it!


From your Hostess:

Thank You for sharing your child centered ideas with us!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Preschool Apple Week - Crafts, Activities & Books

Last week in preschool we learned about apples. What a fun week we had tasting, counting, painting,  exploring and reading about apples. It was a great way to kick off the official start of fall ( even if we don't really see or feel fall here in South FL).

As always I try to incorporate art, science, math, fine motor activities, language and literacy in all of our themes. Here are some highlights from our apple themed week at preschool.

The kids really enjoyed our coffee filter apple art. They all came out unique and it was fun to see how they all got into it - especially the water spraying part! For a full how to you can see my earlier post here

Paper Roll Apple Stamping
This was another super easy activity to set up. I took paper towel rolls, cut them in half and folded the middle in on one end so that they looked like an apple shape. I kept things simple so we didn't add stems or leaves but if you really want to do this up check out how Make and Takes did it - so easy and cute.

Muffin Tin Apple Counting
 This muffin tin apple activity was great math practice for my preschoolers. I simply wrote the numbers 1-6 inside the cups and added dots for each. Then the children had to pick apples (pom poms) using our pincers and add the correct number to each cup in the muffin pan.

Apple Sink or Float Experiment
 The kids loved this experiment! I filled up a tub with water and asked the children if they thought our apples would sink or float when put into the tub of water. I made a chart and recorded all their answers then we conducted out little experiment. What did we find? Our apples floated in the water. The kids were amazed - most of them thought our heavy apples would surely sink.

Apple Investigation
 After our experiment I cut open a red, green and yellow apple. We found the apple star and counted all our seeds. We used magnifying glasses to look closely at the seeds, the apple skin and the fruit inside. 

Apple Stamping Art
 After investigating our cut apples we stamped with them and made some fun apple printed art. This was lots of messy fun.

Apple Roll Painting
 One of the kids favorite art projects for the week was apple roll painting. This was so much fun and our finished art was gorgeous. Using a cardboard box, I put an apple template inside with some red, green and yellow paint and added an apple. The children rolled the apple in the box making paint tracks on our apple template.

Here is a peek at a few of the finished apples. It was such a fun process!

Apple Seed Planting
 I put aside the seeds from our apple investigation so that we could plant them and see what happens. We are currently taking care of our potted seeds - fingers crossed.

Apple Play Dough Trees
 At the start of the week, I made cinnamon apple pie play dough in red, green and yellow. You can get the full recipe here. I cut out some trees from construction paper and the children rolled apples out of our play dough to put on the trees.

Mid week - our play dough had mixed and swirled so that it looked marbled. We used cookie cutters to make apples shapes and I think they turned out pretty cool.

At the end of the week we had an apple tasting of red, green and yellow apples. The children tried all 3 apples and we graphed their favorites on a chart. It was a fabulous apple filled week!


If you are looking for more apple activities check out these other ideas that I have done with the Lil Divas -

and here are 10 of our favorite apple themed books for you to read to your littles.

 Need even more ideas? Check out my Apple Fun Pinterest board - it has tons of ideas for all ages.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Building Reading Comprehension Skills with Hot Dots (+ Sweepstakes)

Reading isn't just about decoding words. Good readers use a variety of reading strategies to make sense of text. They make predictions, ask questions, tap into prior knowledge, make inferences and make sense of what they read. Now that my 6 year old is a "fluent" reader, meaning that she reads quickly, accurately and with proper expression my main focus is on continuing to help her develop her reading comprehension. We have of course always focused on comprehension by doing simple activities such as asking questions before, during and after reading and summarizing the stories we read.  Now that she has moved past the need to decode as many words while reading, we can really work on developing her reading comprehension skills and overall vocabulary. We can move from being a "reader" to being a "good reader".

In order to be a good reader children not only need to be able to read fluently but they must also be able to make sense of what they read.  How can we help our children become good readers? How can we encourage them to make connections to what they read?

Reading comprehension and the building of vocabulary is a huge focus in 1st grade. As both a mom and an educator, I know that education begins here at home, with me. Although both Lil Divas are being taught reading strategies at school, I know how important it is to continue to build on what they learning at school, here at home. Of course, after a long day at school the last thing the Lil Divas want to do is sit and work some more. How do I combat this? By making our learning fun. We play games, read books they want to read and work on activities that are both inviting and engaging.

The Lil Divas love to play. They enjoy board games, computer games, apps - well you get the idea. So I am always willing to let them try educational toys such as Hot Dots whose aim is to help children develop various skills such as reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, math, science and social studies.

We were recently given the opportunity to review the interactive Talking Hot Dots Pen along with Phonics Flash Cards - Blends & Digraphs, Reading Comprehension Cards - Getting the Main Idea and Laugh It Up Vocabulary Cards - Synonyms by Educational Insights. You know that we have had a relationship with this company for some time and they never disappoint. You can check out some of our previous reviews here.

This set was perfect for my 1st grader. We have previously used the Hot Dots Jr - Ace the Talking Dog Pen so she was familiar with the way it works and welcomed using a "big kid" version of the pen and "harder" cards - her words.

The Pen works much like our old friend Ace. It is interactive and great for independent learning. A simple press to the card gives an immediate response - a green light and positive answer means you were correct and a red light and "Whoops! Not it", or other such response let you know it was not correct and encourages the child to try again.

The reading comprehension card set includes 50 leveled cards with short stories (a few paragraphs) and 4 multiple choice questions on the back. I like that there are varying levels and different genres represented.

The Oldest Diva was able to choose titles that appealed to her and work on reading comprehension - understanding the main idea independently. This was great to have when I was working with the Littlest Diva on homework. It provided us with an activity that was beneficial, she found it fun and she could do it 100% on her own with me listening to the pen to give me an idea of how she was doing.

I could hear the pen congratulate the Oldest Diva when she was correct and let her know when she was incorrect so that she could try again.

The Oldest Diva enjoyed the phonics blends & digraphs card sets as well. They were fairly easy for her so I have been using them with my Kindergartener and she finds them challenging.

The synonym cards were more of a challenge. We usually work on these together but I like that they are helping enrich her vocabulary. It gives us an opportunity to talk about new words and I have caught her using a few of them in conversation. Isn't that fabulous?

The Hot Dots Pen & card sets have been a wonderful learning tool in our home. We have not experienced any technical issues with the pen and both girls find it very easy to use. It's been a wonderful independent learning tool for 1st grader and I can see this being an asset in the classroom as well as in the home. This would be great at an independent reading learning center. 

Onto the fun stuff - the fabulous people over at Educational Insights are giving away a Hot Dots Pen and 2 card sets (of choice!) to one lucky Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas reader. Yay! Isn't that an awesome giveaway?

Entering the giveaway is easy peasy - just use the rafflecopter form below to enter to win.  This one is open to both US & Canada residents and ends on October 11, 2012.  See official sweepstakes rules here.

Good luck,

Disclaimer - I received the products mentioned in this post free from Educational Insights in order to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed are 100% my own and based on our personal experiences with the products. Your experience and opinions may differ.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Fun Halloween Crafts & Learning Activities for Kids

We have Halloween on the brain - big time! The Lil Divas are so excited that I can't help but feel pretty excited too. So I have started planning some fun activities to do here at home and thought I'd share some of last year's fun with you to start things off.

I made a Halloween Scavenger Hunt Sensory Bin that was definitely one of my favorite Halloween activities of all time. It was squishy, slimy fun for the kiddos to find all the hidden Halloween items in the colored pasta. Really, it feels so cool to put your hands in there - a must try!

While you are already cooking spaghetti, you might want to save some so you can make these Spooky Spaghetti Spider Webs. We hung them up as decorations and they looked great. I want to make more this year.

In keeping with the spider theme for another moment - you have to try creating this Spider Web Maze at home! The Lil Divas have already asked me if I would do it again. It was such a fun and memorable activity for them.

Pumpkins are a huge part of Halloween and fall in general. I love pumpkin recipes and so look forward to this time of year. I can't wait to get crafty with our pumpkins this year. This Colored & Glittered Pasta Pumpkin Craft is one of my favorite crafts from last Halloween. 

Did you know that October 30th is National Candy Corn Day? We had lots of fun celebrating this fun holiday last year. We crafted, did some math and even worked on word families all in honor of candy corn. 

While working on this post I asked the Lil Divas for their favorite activities and crafts - after all it is about the kids right? Both Lil Divas said I had to share our Mummy Wrapping Fun with you again. Stock up on gauze and then let the kids get wrapping. This was such a simple way to have fun, yet it made such an impact on them. Aren't those the best activities/memories?

You know I like to sneak in some learning into our fun so one of my favorite activities from last year is our Paper Roll _at Word Family Bats. They turned out super cute and were a great way to practice some phonics skills with my kindergartener. 

I have a fondness for handprint crafts. I can't help but think about the fact that the Lil Divas hands won't be this small for very long. They are getting so big already, I love trying to capture where we are now and freeze time if only through a craft memento so these Handprint Spiders and Marble Paint Webs are very near and dear to my heart. Not only is marble painting a fun activity but the fact that these handprint spiders are made from their little hands - well, let's just say this craft is one of the ones that I have tucked away for the future.

Another easy & fun Halloween craft - Painted Rock Ghosts. These are beyond easy to make but make sure you have a generous rock supply because they kiddos won't want to stop at painting just one.

One more ghost and a final Halloween themed activity for you - Faux Stain Glass Ghosts. These are easy to make and great to hang on your windows. 

Have fun Halloween crafting & learning!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Faux Tie Dye Fall Leaves

Yes, I had to do it! You know I have a fondness for our Do-a-Dot Markers and making Faux Tie Dye Creations with them so I couldn't resist making some fall leaves for our windows. They are FABULOUS & we love how they turned out!

What You Need:
coffee filters (these are a must have crafting item!)
bingo daubers or Do-A-Dot Markers

What To Do:
Cut out various leaf shapes (older children can do this for themselves if desired) from your coffee filters. I suggest having a few ready - once you start you will just keep going. These are pretty additive in my house. The Lil Divas love trying to come up with different patterns.

Take a leaf cut out and fold it in half and then in half again. There are so many ways to do this and the fun part is trying a different fold each time so that you get new patterns. We just have fun with it and I let the Lil Divas fold as they please.

Use your bingo daubers or Do-A-Dot Markers to make a design. My best tip is to encourage kids to try and saturate the paper so that the colors go through the folds and the bleed together. It creates a deep, richly colored pattern.

Carefully open your leaf - be careful not to tear the coffee filter.

Allow the coffee filter leaves to dry on a tray or other safe surface. Continue folding and daubing leaves as desired. Be sure to change your folds and designs so that you have a fun array of faux tie dye designs.

Display your leaves on your windows, walls, etc as desired. They look great!

We used Crayola Washable Window Markers to make a large tree on our window and we attached a few of our leaves. We love using these markers - they always wash right out but are long lasting on our displays. 

The rest of the leaves we just taped here and there to our windows. Not having a real fall season here in FL, it's nice to add a few touches like these to our windows to make our environment a bit more fall like. 

Looking for some other fall craft and learning ideas? Check out our Top 10 Fall Crafts & Activities for Kids

How about sharing some fall books with your kids and/or students? Here are our faves -

Enjoy making some Fall Faux Tie Dye Leaves!