I was super excited when I went shopping over the weekend and scored some Pumpkin Spice Jell-O packets on clearance! I couldn't wait to mix up a batch of jello play dough for my preschoolers to play with this week.
If you have never whipped up a batch of jello play dough - I urge you to give it a try. It's so moist, sticky and fun. Kids love the texture and this pumpkin spice scent was fabulous.
What You Need:
2 Pumpkin Spice Jell-O packets (I used the 3.4oz packets)
3.5 - 4 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 cup hot water
This is super easy to make so it's perfect for kids to help in the kitchen.
Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Play Dough:
1. Put 1 cup of water into microwave for 2-3 minutes - to bring to a boil. This must be done by an adult.
2. In a bowl combine your dry ingredients - 3.5 cups flour (save 1/2 cup flour for later - you will add flour as needed to reach YOUR desired consistency, you may even want to add more than I did!), jell-o packets and 1/2 cup salt - and mix well.
3. Add in oil and stir.
4. Mix in water and stir - use caution with any children helping because you are using hot water for this step. Once your dough starts to form, get ready to knead.
5. Let cool just a bit before you begin to knead the dough. Knead your dough well, adding flour as desired. I used probably an additional 1/2 cup or more of flour. Jell-O is sticky so just sprinkle on additional flour as needed until you get the consistency you prefer.
6. Add 1-2 drops of glycerin if desired. This play dough is pretty soft and sticky thanks to the jell-o so glycerin isn't essential. I added a drop just because I prefer shiny play dough.
*Remember that jell-o play dough is sticky so you may want to add more flour than I did. I like it a little sticky because my preschoolers enjoy the sensory feel of it and since we use it a lot, it keeps it from drying out too fast (even when not put away for awhile).*
A few weeks ago I shared Kleenex's fabulous Softness Worth Sharing initiative with you. This initiative is one I am proud to be part of and share with my girls because it is all about thinking of others and surprising them with a care pack and a small gesture of kindness. Who wouldn't be happy to be on the receiving end of that, right?
As a mom, I try to impart to my girls that we should not only think of others but that we should be a good friend and show we care to those that may need it. It can be as simple as a smile at the grocery store, holding a door open or helping a friend pick up something up they dropped at school.
In order to lead by example, I wanted to take the opportunity and show my girls how we can make a big impact on someone's day with a small gesture. A good friend of mine was recently unwell. Those fall colds are running rampant. Being a mom, means we don't really get a sick day when we don't feel well. So, I packed up a Kleenex Care Pack for Mom which included - lip balm, 1 oz. hand sanitizer, coupon booklet, Kleenex® Brand Share Pack, Kleenex® Brand Slim Pack, and a card redeemable to download four songs from up and coming Universal Music Artists including: Andy Grammer, Miloš Karadaglić, Avi Avital and Rebecca Pidgeon and added a few activities and treats for the kids and delivered it all to her doorstep with a little note to let her know we were thinking of them.
Not only did the Kleenex Care Pack come in handy to combat those sneezes and sniffles but we also provided her with a few precious moments to relax while her children were happily engaged in the pre-Halloween activities we sent over including foam pumpkins, masks to decorate, activity books and pencils and beaded necklaces to string.
Halloween is just 2 days away and we have been battling colds here for over a week, one by one. As we enjoy a cold snap and cooler weather this Halloween, I know what I will make sure is in my purse when we head out the door to go trick-or-treating - kleenex tissues. I wouldn't want my adorable Angel and Little Red Riding Hood to knock on someone's door with sniffles running down their nose.
Would you like to surprise to someone and show them how much you care? Showing you care with Kleenex is as easy as 1,2,3! Just purchase a specially marked box of Kleenex Brand tissue, find the code and enter it online. Then share the Kleenex Brand Care Pack!
Disclosure- I wrote this review while participating in an ambassador program byMom Central Consultingon behalf of the Kleenex brand and received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Last week we enjoyed some Monster Fun at preschool.
We read monster stories, danced to monster songs (do you do the Monster Mash?), enjoyed monster art and more. Here are some of my favorite activities from our week -
Play Dough Monsters
Using our homemade no-cook black play dough, wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, craft sticks and feathers, the children created play dough monsters. They LOVED this activity and it was popular all week long.
The children drew monsters and then told me stories about them. I prompted them with questions such as - What's your monsters name? How many eyes does he/she have? What does you monster like to do? Tell me something special about your monster.
Clay Art Monsters
The children loved our play dough monsters so much that I decided to let them make clay monsters that they could take home. They were so proud of their little monsters and so pleased to be able to take them home.
Blot Paint Monsters
My favorite art project of the week was definitely our blot paint monsters. Each one turned out so unique and fun.
Blow Paint Monsters
Another fun activity was our blow paint monsters. We used pipettes to add watercolor paint to our paper and then the children blew the paint around with straws. It was fun to see what they "saw" in their blow paint splotches. To make their monsters we used wiggle eyes and various shape stickers to make teeth, horns, etc.
Paper Tube Monsters
We also made some great paper roll monsters though I unfortunately didn't have my camera with me the day we made them and then forgot to take photos of the finished products all week. I hung them from the ceiling and they look so fun in our classroom.
For our science activity we whipped up a batch of Monster Goo - using corn starch, water & some food coloring. What messy fun!
We also did lots of Monster Math using monster templates and wiggly eyes.
Even our potato heads took on a monster feel this week - how cute is this? I love the children's creativity. This particular "monster head" has 2 noses :) Some of them had numerous arms, eyes, ears, etc.
Books We Read:
Isn't this monster fun & cute? Just looking at him makes me smile. We made it out of a huge coffee filter that the kids worked together to paint with watercolor and pipettes. Then using construction paper shapes, they created a face with eyes, sharp triangle teeth and horns. We hung it up outside with the sign I made from another decorated coffee filter to display our fabulous monster art from the week.
You know I am always looking for ways to make learning fun for the Lil Divas. The youngest Diva has sight words to learn in kindergarten but she isn't a fan of flashcards or going over things tediously. I have to continually come up with different ways for her to play in order to review the words. One of the games she loves to play is tic-tac-toe. She wears us out once she gets started with it because she can play endless rounds.
I decided to take her love of tic-tac-toe and use it to my advantage to practice sight words.
The prep for this activity was super easy. I took a sheet protector I had handy and inserted a white piece of copy paper that I had drawn lines on for a tic-tac-toe board. I took colored construction paper and cut it up into squares the same size as the game board. Since the game board had nine squares, I wrote 18 sight words on separate cards that I wanted the Littlest Diva to review. I placed 9 of these words face down on the game board and kept the others aside. I wanted extra words to change out for continued play to give her more of a challenge.
How to Play:
I wanted this to be an activity that the Lil Divas could play together, independently of me. Therefore, I kept it simple. In order to write their x or o on the game board, the sight word covering the play spot had to be read correctly.
The first person to get 3 in a row for tic-tac-toe won the game.
Any words not flipped over remained on the game board. The others were randomly changed for the next round.
The Littlest Diva played round after round, as I knew she would. This was definitely a hit!
My first grader has a spelling list of 10 words each week that she has to learn. As a teacher, I was always on the giving end of these lists but now as a Mama on the receiving end, I have experienced first hand how boring and tedious it can be to help your child learn these words.... in 4 days.
So of course the only thing to do was to spice up our weekly spelling homework and make it fun. Psst, you know this also makes it more memorable - right?
I compiled this list from things we have done at home, things I plan to do and things I have done over the years in my classroom as a teacher.
Writing & Fine Motor Practice - you can do the old stand-by and write your words on a piece of paper, maybe even the dreaded 5x each or you can.......
1. Play Dough Words - use play dough to form letters to spell out each word.
2. Pipe Cleaner Words - use pipe cleaners and bend and form to make letters used to write out the words.
3. Yarn Words - supply some yarn and scissors and let kids snip and create letters to spell out the words.
4. Puffy Paint Words - mix up a batch of puffy paint, write words and pop them in microwave to watch them puff up. :)
5. Stamp It! - use alphabet stamps and ink pads to stamp out words or let child use fingerprints to write words if you don't have letter stamps.
6. Paint It! - use a paintbrush and paint to spell words.
7. Finger Paint - let them get messy and have some sensory fun and finger paint to spell their words
8. Reverse Chalk Writing (aka Water Writing) - an easy and fun twist on writing words on the chalkboard. Use chalk to cover the chalkboard and have your child use a paintbrush dipped in water to write their words over it. The Lil Divas love this reverse chalk writing.
9. Type It! - if your kiddos are anything like my Lil Divas they love getting computer time, so let them type their spelling words on the computer/ipad/lap top.
10. Rainbow Words - spell words using different colored markers or crayons for each letter.
11. Salt/Sand/Flour Tray - spell words using finger or paintbrush (great sensory experience too). Put colored construction paper under the salt, sand or flour to make the letters really pop.
12. Trace - have fun and let kids trace their words on your back or palm. Have them focus on properly forming each letter so you can feel it being drawn.
13. Sidewalk Chalk (or Paint) - go outside and spell your words using sidewalk chalk. Just taking the spelling practice outside makes it more fun for kids.
14. Shaving Cream - This is another fun sensory experience. Make a thin layer of shaving cream on a tray and use a paintbrush or better yet a fingertip to spell out the words. Have some napkins on hand.
15. Trace in the Air - watch as children trace the letters in the air to spell each word.
16. Alphabet Blocks - use ABC blocks to spell words
17. Letter Beads - use alphabet letter beads and pipe cleaners to build words
18. Letter Tiles - spell words using letter tiles
19. Alphabet Stickers - build words using ABC stickers
20. Small/Medium/Large Words - How boring is it to write words 3 or 5 times each? I used to hate doing it as a kid myself so I understand the Oldest Diva not being thrilled about doing it. How about jazzing it up by having them write the word using the smallest letters they can possibly write (this one is a fave), then doing it normal sized and finally jumbo sized. It makes tedious writing practice so much more fun.
21. Build a Word with Legos - using some tape write the letters needed for each word ahead of time on some legos. Mix them up and then call out a word and have child(ren) build it using the appropriate legos and you will end up with some spelling word towers. Now that's a fun way to spell.
22. Crayon Bits - use your broken crayons to make letters and spell the target words.
23. Q-Tip Writing - Use q-tips and paint to dot letters to spell the word or write the word using the q-tip as a paint brush.
24. Magnet Letters - Take a cookie sheet or head for the fridge, add some magnetic letters and spell out the words.
25. Glue & Glitter - Write out spelling words in glue and sprinkle some glitter on top. Glitter makes everything fun, doesn't it?
26. Wikki Stix - What a fun bendable material and perfect to use in building letters to spell words.
27. Alphabet Rocks - If you have a set of painted ABC rocks these can be a fun way to build and spell words.
28. Marble Words - The Lil Divas enjoy using our flat bottom decorative marbles to form the letters needed to spell words. You could also use small rocks, decorative gems or whatever you have handy.
29. Coffee Filters & Markers - let your child write the words using markers on coffee filters. Once you are all done, hand them a spray bottle of water and let them turn their spelling practice into art!
30. Hidden Spelling Words - on a white piece of paper let your child write out the spelling words using a white crayon. Once all words have been written use watercolors and paint to make hidden words appear.
31. Paint (or Hair Gel) Bags - Pour paint into a ziplock freezer bag and seal. Use fingertips to write words on bag. To erase, simply squish bag and you are ready for the next word.
32. Alpha-Bit Spelling - Use Alpha-Bit cereal, alphabet pasta or even alphabet cookies to spell words - this can even double as a snack when done reviewing if you use the cereal or cookies.
33. Print Words - Use newspaper or magazine print to cut out fun letters. Have child make words using clipped letters.
34. Novelty Erasers - use small erasers to spell words. I always stock up on seasonal erasers to use for math, etc and they actually work great for spelling too.
35. Q-Tip or Toothpick Letters - use q-tips or toothpicks to build letters and make spelling words.
36. Flower Words - draw a flower for each word, 1 petal for each letter of the word.
37. Other Hand - if you are right handed write your words using your left hand, if you are left handed write words using your right hand.
38. Alphabet Cookie Cutters - use ABC cookie cutters to make words. For extra fun, go ahead and make some word cookies.
39. Window Writing - use Crayola Window Markers and write words on windows or sliding glass doors. They wash off easily and writing on windows or doors is so much more fun than boring old paper.
40. Clothespin Words - Write letters on clothespins and have child pin letters to make words. They can pin onto hanging string (think clothes line) or even an index card.
41. Snap Cube Words - Those colorful snap cubes aren't just for math. Use them to build letters and form spelling words.
42. Flashlight Words - set up an Alphabet chart, turn out the lights and use a flashlight to shine on each letter (one letter at a time) to spell words.
43. Craft Stick Spelling - write the necessary letters on craft sticks, mix them up and have child build words using the appropriate sticks.
44. Scrabble Spelling - use scrabble pieces to build words. For some sneaky math fun have child total the amount for each word.
45. Tub Spelling - use foam letters in the tub and stick onto the wall to make words.
46. Shower Spelling - Yes, more spelling fun in the tub. This time spread some shaving cream on your shower door or tiled wall over the tub and let your child(ren) finger write words.
47. Bathtub Paint - Still feeling adventurous about the tub? Use bathtub paint and write or paint words onto your shower door, tub or tiled wall. It washes out!
48. Cheez-it Spelling - use ABC Cheez-it crackers to spell words. Then enjoy a yummy snack.
49. Cereal Words - using circle shaped cereal like Cheerios or Froot Loops build letters to form spelling words. Then have a sweet, crunchy snack.
50. Penny or Coin Spelling - use pennies or other small coins to make letters and spell out words.
51. Lima Beans - Another fun manipulative to use are lima beans. Write letters on beans, mix them up and put them in a pile for the children. Call out spelling words and have child search for the appropriate beans to spell each word.
Oral Practice - sure you can just practice spelling your words out loud but wouldn't it be more fun to........
52. Sing - Use whatever song or beat you like but a simple B-I-N-G-O like song & some clapping works wonders especially on that first day of practicing words. It really helps kids begin to remember those words.
53. Rap - Yes rap! This is so much fun and a great way to - S to the P to the E to the Double L, spells SPELL! Let them have fun with it and get creative. We always end up in fits of giggles and it really doesn't feel like homework.
54. Partner Spell - take turns adding a letter to spell each word. For example, for the word FUN - child starts by saying the letter F, parents adds letter U and child then completes word by adding the letter N. This requires focus and listening and is a great exercise for elementary aged learners.
* In the classroom this gets really fun and challenging when you have lots of kids playing because they have to be paying close attention to what everyone is saying before them. If they miss their letter, they have to sit out the rest of the round. We used to add a fun word at the end of the words too depending on the season like apple, pumpkin, witch, turkey, heart, etc. The person who said that word was also automatically out and had to sit. It was a fun way to play with a large group of kids. *
55. Cheerleader Chant - Give me an S, give me a P, give me an E, give me an L, give me a L - what's that spell? SPELL!
56. Record - use a tape recorder to record child(ren) orally spelling words.
57. Make a Video - use the household video camera or even your phone to take some quick video of your child spelling the target words.
58. Microphone - Spell words into a microphone. There is just something fun about hearing yourself loud and magnified so have fun with it and practice those spelling words too.
Gross Motor Practice - we like to make spelling practice fun by getting active while practicing our words. This gets the Oldest Diva moving and playing while studying, which she really enjoys.
59. Jump Rope while orally spelling the words.
60. Hula Hoop and spell words out loud.
61 Hopscotch Spelling - Write letters outside in chalk or play indoors with large letter cards on floor. Hop from letter to letter to spell words.
62. Bounce a Ball - bounce a ball as you spell words - 1 bounce per letter.
63. Balloon Bop - keep a balloon up in the air while spelling your word. This one gets lots of giggles.
64. Swat & Spell - put letter cards on the floor and using a flyswatter, swat the letters in the order necessary to spell words.
65. Froggy Spelling - leap like a frog and spell words - 1 letter for each leap.
66. Jumpin' Jack - do jumping jacks as you spell words - 1 jump per letter
67. Hop & Spell - hop on one foot as you spell words, this is a great exercise in balance especially with longer words.
Games and Online Fun - you can use flashcards or you can take your spelling practice to a whole new level by playing games and even having some online fun.
68. Have child spell and write 2 sets of words onto flashcards and then play a Memory Game with them.
69. Which is Correct? Write words on dry erase board and include misspelled words. Have child identify the correctly spelled words.
70. Wordsearch - you can visit sites like PuzzleMaker, plug in your child's spelling list and create a word search that you can print. Then have your child search for the correctly spelled spelling words and circle them. Let them use different colored highlighters for some added visual fun.
71. Mystery Letters - write words with missing letters. Child must figure out which mystery letters are missing in order to complete words .
72. Word Puzzle Scavenger Hunt - Write words onto construction paper and cut apart letters. Put letters in plastic eggs or other such container and hide around room. Have child find words you've hidden and put words together correctly like a word puzzle.
73. Puzzle Words - How about using old puzzle pieces to practice spelling words? I love this idea from No Time for Flashcards.
74. Spelling BINGO - Make or print a few blank BINGO cards to use with spelling practice. Kids love to play BINGO. Write spelling words in boxes and randomly call out (or use flashcards) words. Child should cover appropriate words when called. To make things extra challenging, write words spelled incorrectly in a few spaces as well so child has to discriminate between the correctly spelled words and the incorrect ones.
75. Unscramble - use magnet letters or letter tiles for each word, scramble them up and have child put letters in correct order to spell words.
I hope you are able to get some new ideas from this list
& make spelling fun rather than tedious and boring!