Sunday, September 30, 2012

Apple Week for Preschoolers - Part 2

Apple Week has now come an end in our homeschool-preschool and here is a last look at what we had a chance to do during this activity-filled week.

Outdoor Play - Language & Literacy - 
Applesauce ingredients hunt and quiz in the backyard

A well loved activity by Adrian this week was this applesauce ingredients hunting. I hid all four apples in the yard with 1 envelope for each and did the same with the wooden spoon. Adrian had to find the envelopes in order (1-5) and answer the question within the envelope correctly before being allowed to add the applesauce ingredient to his cooking pot. The more good answers, the more applesauce he would make...and eat! :) Questions were as follows:

1. True or False: Apples are vegetables.
2. Can you name 3 different color of apples?
3. True or False: Apples grow on trees.
4. Apples have a stone in their core.
5. Can you name 2 apple products? / 2 things we can make with apples?

Science - Culinary Arts - Making applesauce

Making applesauce is frankly easy when you've made so much of it for your babies. :) Adrian and I ended up using 2 Golden Delicious and one Gala apple. I like to use a variety of apples and only sweet ones as I do not add sugar at all. Adrian took the stickers off the apples, washed them and I then peeled and cored the fruit while he...ate the peelings. :) Once I finished dicing the apples, he put them in the pot, we added about an inch of water to the bottom of the pot and started cooking them. Adrian stirred and we tested with a fork several times until the apples felt tender, at which point, we transferred the apples to the mini food prep for pureeing. Unfortunately, it broke in the midst of the pureeing so the applesauce was a bit chunkier than we like it (can't blame it for breaking after all those years of baby food making). It still tasted great but the texture was a bit off to our palate. ;)

Art - Apple printmaking

Well believe it or not, it was the first time I cut an apple sideways in front of Adrian and he looked so surprised to see a star in the middle of its core! It was like I did magic. So we took the magic to the paper by dipping one half in red paint and the other in green paint (paint was previously poured in two small plates). The trick is to not saturate the apple, otherwise, you don't see the star pattern so much. I really liked the result and would eventually like to take this activity to a blank canvas bag. It'd look so neat for an apple orchard visit.

Math - Patterning with apple cut-outs

Ordered these through an Ebay seller last year.  I figured it was cheaper than buying the colored card stock and punch and I was right. These were $0.99 and $0.50 for shipping. I used them for patterning this year. What you see above is the completed pattern (Adrian added the last apple to my sequence). He did great and loves doing patterns like these (probably because he's so good at it!).

Roll an apple

Here comes the Tadoodles! Yes, I still have these from Adrian's toddler years and yes, they still work just fine! I put fall color ones on the Tadoodle car and brought these out with a die and Apple Picking Time sheet (see Engaging Toddler Activities for your own). I originally had planned on using a red bingo stamper but it has been misplaced during our overseas move and I have had little time to hunt for it. No biggie as Adrian loved seeing the Tadoodles again! :) So to fill in this sheet with dots, Adrian rolled the die and dotted as many circles as the die indicated. He loved alternating colors in between die roll. (idea for this activity was originally taken from somewhere. My Montessori Journey maybe?).

Fine Motor - Apple Tweezing

Well, these are only mini red pompoms but pretending is fun! We used a pair of toast tongs for this activity. Real tweezers would have been a big small and real tongs, a bit too big. These were perfect and Adrian completed the tweezing with no difficulty and in no time. 

Science - Parts of an Apple

We first took a look at the poster and then proceeded to color carefully in our booklet. I found the poster on the University of Illinois's website and the apple for coloring at Color Me Good. (I had to add the leaf though).

Art - Play dough Apples

Aren't these the cutest little apples? With some red play dough, a broken twig and tiny leaves leftover from our bush trimming, you get these adorable creations. Last year, we used cut up aquatic plant leaves for the leaves and it worked much better as they were sturdier but I could not find them in time for this year. Real leaves were a bit difficult to get in the dough as they keep bending but on the other hand, gathering the twig pieces and leaves added to the fun for Adrian. (Idea found on My Montessori Journey)

Language & Literacy - Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins Story Acting

Another activity found on My Montessori Journey. This book had never appealed to me or Adrian when we borrowed it from our local library but I gave the activity a shot anyway and with the props, the book was now loved and cherished to the point where it became part of our own library. Basically, a different farm animal takes an apple on each page spread so I made sure we had the ten animals and farmer (card could be used as they were on MMJ)) and ten apples (apple pattern found on MMJ). Adrian would then make the animal take an apple and set it aside until all the apples were gone. He made sure several times that the amount of apples in the tree matched the ones in our crate. 

All animals and farmer were fed

This is it for apple week, folks! Hope you are enjoying trying some of these in your own home.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Week for Preschoolers

While we are still trying to find an apple orchard to go apple picking, the wait is over for apple themed activities for preschooler Adrian...and for the first apple pie of the season! :)

Apple Sensory Tub

Although sensory tubs are always a fun activity for Adrian, I don't prepare as many as I could/should. I always remember them as long to prepare and long to put away but this one was quite easy and fast to assemble (read-no beans to separate once it's finished). I saw a similar tub to this one on GreenPinkMama and thought it looked so pretty that I made one inspired by it (although mine is not nearly as pretty and sensorial as hers). Green split peas were used, red mini pompoms, styrofoam apples, a few measuring spoons and the tree and scarecrow were found at Target last year. Adrian loved counting the pompoms, filling and dumping the peas, seeing how many could fit the smallest spoon and even tried putting some "apples" in the apple tree.

Art - Making a play doh apple pie

I first saw this activity on Counting Coconuts and decided to go ahead and give it a try with Adrian. We used our little styrofoam apples from Michael's, white play doh (wish I had the time to make my own scented dough!), a play doh rolling pin and knife as well as a small foil plate.

Finished apple pie
Overall, Adrian loved making his pie. Rolling the dough far enough so it would cover the plate was a bit of a challenge but he did it.

Math and fine motor - Apple Garland and Sequencing

Most of my homemade felted items are "pretty on one side" and "numbered" on the other. These little felted red apples were no exception so I asked Adrian to sequence them from 1-10  and to then put each one, in order, on the clothesline, aka ribbon, with a clothespin. That last part was a bit challenging as our ribbon was not very sturdy and it also got heavier every time an apple was added.

Lacing the worm in the apple

A fine motor activity that was put out this week was this lacing activity which I called " there's a worm in my apple".  I made an apple our of a cardboard box, colored it and punched holes here and there. Adrian then laced it with a green pipe cleaner.

Roll a an apple

2TeachingMommies offers a variety of free printables and I was happy to find this very neat tree for yet another roll the die activity (one of Adrian's favorite). You can either color the apples or, add pompoms after a roll of your  die. You can count them in and out as well! :)

Math - Apple Seed Counting Book

Featured on My Montessori Journey was this great idea of the apple seed counting booklet. I thus made one for Adrian who gave it a warm reception. His drawing of the seed was more or less a black dot but if we repeat this next year, I think he'll take more time to shape it.  Our little apple shape for the booklet comes from benscoloringpages.

Art - Apple Paper Plate

This little project was enjoyed by Adrian but a bit too long. A dessert paper plate should have been used instead. It took him a while to tear the red construction sheets (I pre-cut strips for him to tear) and it surprisingly was difficult too. Gluing took him a while as well and I am going to start using liquid glue and paintbrush from now on I think. The glue stick seemed a bit lengthy for such a big project and without the right pressure/amount, the pieces would sometimes not stay in place. I credit this apple paper plate idea to My Montessori Journey's Blog. Although the blog is now "closed", it's a wonderful resource for ideas.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

By the Seashore for Toddlers

I am most certain that I was meant to live by the sea. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to make that happen yet and haven't even gotten to a beach in years. As such, I brought the "sea and beach" to us with a unit named "By the Seashore" for little Zahavah. 

Learning Ressources' Jumbo Ocean Animals

No fish here sadly (and strangely if you ask me) but still a nice variety. Whale, dolphin, octopus, seal, tiger shark and turtle though. By day 2, Z already could show me which was was which so she learned these quickly. (On the first day, she already knew "turtle" and learned "octopus" right after.) To reinforce the name after presentation, I scattered 3 animals and asked Z, "Where's octopus?"She quickly mastered the three animals and the rest were reinforced the same way the day after. She also quite enjoyed watching 30sec. videos of each animal on YouTube (the seal playing ball and dolphin playing with bubble rings were the biggest hit). She is now getting to pronouncing the name of each creature.

Melissa & Doug's Ocean Life Jumbo Knobs Puzzle

Melissa & Doug's puzzles are all awesome to me. For toddlers, I especially like the jumbo knobbed ones like the one pictured above. It's only three pieces and they are quite big ones at that but it can still require a lot of patience and coordination for a toddler.

Scooping starfish with a net

A favorite. Most toddlers love to play in the water and mine is no exception. I had intended on presenting this tub outside in the yard but due to sudden weather changes, I had to revise my plans and            present it inside on the tiled kitchen floor. If you are hesitant towards water play, don't be. Yes, it's messy but it's just water and any spills can be wiped down with a towel. Toddlers can even be dressed down to their diapers to avoid wet clothes. In this water activity, Zahavah had to scoop up the little starfish with her net. It was quite easy for her and after fishing out the little ocean life twice, she simply went in with her hands to play in the water, grab the starfish and put them back. After 10 minutes, I took away the tub (A Sterilite Storage container) but she could have kept going.

Sand molding with sea creatures

Kids love playing in the sand and I got these Melissa & Doug sand molds a while ago with our Huggies Rewards Points (yeah! Finally a prize for years of diaper changing!) knowing we'd use them soon. It so happens that our local playground has a HUGE sandbox so we used those there. Zahavah loved filling each mold with her hands and shovels but I had to of course turn the mold and show her the results of her hard work.

Finger painting blue waves

Another mildly messy activity that took place this week is finger-painting. To avoid most of the mess though, I contained the finger painting sheet into a finger painting tray (found at Michael's) and taped the sheet to the bottom of it. Then I squeezed a small blob of Crayola washable finger paint on the sheet and let little Z make "waves". As painting with fingers can be a death sentence for clothing and carpets, I dressed down baby Z to her diaper and made sure the tray would be above wood floors! :) As you see, it's a good thing she was shirtless! :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall for Preschoolers - Part 2

Fall week is coming to an end now (how odd since Fall has just arrived, right?) but it was filled with fun and educational activities. Here is one last look at what we've been up to during that timeframe.

Outdoor Play - Math Mushroom hunting in the yard

One of the favorite activities this week was the mushroom backyard hunting. Hidden on the grass and especially close to tree roots and plants were 11 little wooden mushrooms I hand painted (these are about 1in wide and are in fact wooden drawer pulls purchased unfinished on from a seller named ClickityClack who also does wooden toys and such). Each polka dot mushroom had a different quantity of white dots (ranging from 0 to 10). Adrian's job was to find all 11 of them and put them in his basket. At the end, I asked him to order them from 0 to 10 on our table but of course, we had to hunt for mushrooms several times before we got to that math part! :)

Art -Thumbprint Fall Tree

Another well loved activity was this bare tree outfitted with thumb-made leaves! We had no orange paint so Adrian helped make this beautiful orange you see. Adrian loves activities involving paint so he was excited to see all the colors on the table today. The tree was printed from Created by Spark who designed the tree for the new hip trend of thumbprint wedding guest books.

Science - Botany - Parts of a Tree

Well since we are talking about how trees start to change in the fall, I figured we might as well discuss their parts too! ("Parts of a leaf" will come later during Leaves Week.) We first discussed the parts thanks to Exploring Nature's handout and then proceeded to color only one part per page in our little Parts of a Tree book. Adrian knew all the parts except for "Trunk" which he called "bark. Can't blame him. There is bark on the trunk and that is what I explained. ;) To make our Parts of a Tree booklet, I printed one tree per page using a picture found on Montessori for Everyone.

Math - How many Acorns did this Squirrel Eat?

Working with natural items is always a favorite of Adrian. For this activity, I supplied 8 squirrel cards printed from a grid game found on PreKinders and then wrote a number in between 0 and 10 on each card. Adrian then had to put the right number of acorn caps with the squirrel who had eaten that many. At the end, no caps were left in the bowl. He thought it was funny that some squirrels had not eaten at all while some ate eight nuts! :)

Fine Motor - Literacy - Clothespins and Which Apple basket is different?

A mix of good observation and fine motor for this fall themed activity. Adrian first had to look attentively at each card (you can find them on PreKinders) to see which fall picture was different on each and then put a clothespin on that one. These clothespins (from my local grocery store) being smaller, they gave him much less trouble than the big ones I use on my clothesline and well...aren't they just the cutest?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall for Preschoolers

Believe it or not fall is almost here and as such, this past week, we have been preparing for it by doing fall themed activities. I had a bit of trouble sorting through the list of potential trays to put out for the week though. Normally, it wouldn't be difficult but since I am planning a week for fall, one for apples and one for leaves, I think I spread myself a tad bit thin as these could all be incorporated into the autumn theme. :) Anyhow, here is a sample of what we did on the first few days of the week.

Math - Sorting fall items

In our basket, real acorn caps Adrian picked last year, fall colored pompoms, mini foam apples from Michael's and small glittery fall leaves also found at Michael's. Adrian couldn't help but sort the apples by color and pompoms by color as well after the fall items had been put into their individual dish.

Fall Bingo

Freshly printed from Boggles World ESL. Little fall colored gems found at Michael's were used as chips.

Fall Sensory Tub

Sensory tubs always make Adrian happy. Mine was inspiredfrom Counting Coconuts'. Real pinecones, acorn caps, yellow split peas and red kidney beans were used as well as foam apples and some silk leaves. I also provided small plastic tubs and fondue spoons for spooning items. This activity alone lasted 15 minutes. Spooning, sorting, counting, so many things to do with sensory tubs!

Math - Patterning with Fall Items

I cannot remember where I found this grid sheet but it's simply several circles printed in a row. I used colored mini pompoms and gems for this one although only pompoms are pictured here. I would start a colorful pattern (e.g. red, dark green, red, dark green, red...and Adrian would add a dark green pompom to complete the pattern) and ask Adrian to complete it and at the end, to simply reproduce the pattern I made (as seen in this picture).

Roll a Fall Tree Game

Roll a fall tree, as seen on My Montessori Journey, was a big hit. I cut the tree and leaves from felt. I believe the patterns for these are still on MMJ. With the die, Adrian would see what color of leaf to add on the tree (the die number corresponds to the leaf color to add per the instructions found on MMJ). Adrian's favorite number to roll is 6 as it means all the leaves must fall from the tree!

Have fun and don't forget that Fall is coming up September 22!

Friday, September 21, 2012

On the Farm for Preschoolers - Part 3

Well what do you know? Yet another post about our Farm Theme! As I mentioned before, there are so MANY activities that can be done with this topic. I am posting this one a bit late since we wrapped up our Farm Week last Friday but better late than ever, right?

Math - Chicken Grid Game

I had seen this activity on Counting Coconuts's blog and decided to "serve it up" to Adrian. He quite enjoyed it. He rolled the die to see how many chicken would eat "that day" and then proceeded to feed them corn kernels. He did that until no chicken was left hungry. It took "7 days" for all the chickens to be fed (which means he rolled the die 7 times). The chicken grid can be printed directly from PreKinders. You'll find many more grids too and they are just as cute.

Practical Life - Pouring Milk

A very quick activity but nonetheless liked by Adrian. A small creamer and coffee cup were used to pour the milk. And after the pouring I of course had an expected request; "Can I drink the milk now?"

Fine Motor Skills - Horsy Needs Legs

Another quick activity but one that helps develop fine motor skills. As clothespins are still a bit difficult for Adrian, I brought this horse out so legs could be pinned on. He thought it was just the funniest thing and loved that the horse stood thanks to his work. I printed the horse from Best Coloring Pages and cut off his legs myself. The idea was borrowed from Just Montessori.

Science-Zoology - Parts of a Horse

Homemade parts of the horse booklet. Features the mane, tail, neck, torso, head, legs (hind and fore). Horse picture was printed from Online Coloring Books. Adrian had to color only the body part required (one per page).

Science - Animals and their "Products"

I thought it would be nice for Adrian to see why some animals are kept on the farm and what their contributions are so I selected the sheep, chicken, pig, cow and goose and put a wool cap, an egg, a slice of deli ham, a cup of milk and a goose-feathered pillow on the table. I then asked Adrian to match animals and products together. They were all easy to match for him except for the wool cap and goose-filled pillow. I'm guessing that the transformation into a pillow and cap made it harder than if I just put the merino wool we used earlier and some fluffy feathers. 

Fine Motor Skills - Tweezing Grass and Clover

I chose three animals that are usually enjoying grass eating in the fields and picked up some grass and clover from our yard. I then put the mix in a small container and provided tweezers. Adrian's job was to tweeze some "food" for each animal with the tweezer. The clover was just hard enough to pick but the grass was simply too difficult to pick towards the end as there wasn't enough left.

Art - Pig Paper Plate

How fun this craft was. I intended to use a dessert AND a lunch paper plate but somehow couldn't find our big plates so I ended up cutting up a big construction paper circle. I precut all the shapes for Adrian. Scissors still give him a VERY touch time but he helped make the pink paint, painted the paper plate, stuck on the goggly eyes, snout, paws, and ears. He also helped punch the hole for the tail and twisted the pipe cleaner around his finger to make it curl. Please note that I had to use a pink marker for the pipe cleaner. I did not find any stores with the pink ones here but I know they are out there if you decide to go ahead and make this craft. I must thank Busy Bee Kids Crafts for the idea.

This concludes my posts on Farm activities for preschoolers. Activities for toddlers should be posted when Zahavah jumps on board with that thematic.

Friday, September 14, 2012

On The Farm for Preschoolers - Part 2

There are so many activities that can be done with a theme like "On the Farm". I tried to stay away from worksheets as much as possible this week because my son, like many kids his age, prefers to handle things. You'll find here yet another sample of what happened this week in our homechool-preschool.

Outdoor Play/ Physical Development - Hide and Seek the Farm Animals

By far the favorite activity this week. One that has been requested EVERYDAY. I brought out the tub of Learning Ressources' Jumbo Farm Animals and hid them all around the yard. I then asked Adrian to find the animals and bring them one by one, back to the tub. We did it three times the first day and each time, I made it more difficult for him to find the animals. For example, the white goose sat on the white mailbox so it blended in, the goat "climbed" one of the trees (still at eye level), rooster sat in the taller grass, etc.

Math - Roll the die and spots to that cow

I thought this was the cutest activity but Adrian didn't care about it much. He completed it and moved on basically. He had to roll the die, count the number of dots and add the number of black mini pompoms accordingly until all pompoms were used. (Free Cow printable, courtesy of 's Farm Preschool Pack.)

Math & Science-Zoology - Mothers and babies puzzle

One of the many puzzles we have with a farm theme included. We practiced the names of the babies as we completed the puzzles too. This puzzle is made by Educa but has now a more recent version I believe. In case you prefer mothers and babies cards, Counting Coconuts has some for you! If you haven't checked out that blog yet, please do. It's my FAVORITE.

Math & Science-Botany- Graphing seeds

I saw this idea on Counting Coconuts' blog and thought it was a great one. provides many free printable grids for personal use so I printed mine there, accumulated a variety of seeds and let  Adrian sort the seeds and graph with them. It required quite a bit of dexterity when it came to the apple seeds and fitting some of the seeds in their boxes but he did it and was very proud of himself.

Art - 3D Handprint Sheep

I love crafting and so, I looked up several crafts with a Farm theme for this week and found this one on It was irresistibly cute. I let Adrian paint his hand black, he then pressed it on the construction paper. While the paint dried, he washed his hands and then came back to glue on some cotton balls, a little bow and a goggly eye. He told me his sheep was called Timmy as in the Timmy Time series so I wrote that down for him. Overall, he liked his sheep but working with cotton balls seemed to be the best part about the craft.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On the Farm for Preschoolers

It's farm week here for  little Adrian and he sure is having a lot of fun with what I have prepared for him. Here is a sample of what we have done so far this week.

Science - Zoology - Animal Tracks

Science - Zoology - Making animal tracks in play-doh. It's as simple as it sounds and a lot of fun. Adrian repeated the activity several times and wanted to try it with his other jumbo animals as well. For this week, we used Learning Ressources' Jumbo Farm Animals. All their jumbo animals are great for little hands and they all get a lot of playtime in this house.

Art- Painting like a horse

At first, I asked Adrian to simply paint with a "horse tail" paintbrush. But as he never really knows what to paint and ends up simply painting the sheet just to spread the color, I let him see some pictures of horses painting to inspire him to paint like a horse (using his mouth). How fun this was. Now I wish I had used the easel for that but as it was nowhere near, the sheet was spread on the floor. To see some real horses in action, visit

Math & Fine Motor - Clip the right number of farm animals

Math & Fine Motor - Clip the right number of farm animals. A more traditional activity which still causes a bit of difficulty for my 4 year old. He can count just fine but making these clothespins open is a bit of a challenge at times. The counting cards were found in 2 teaching mommies' farm preschool pack at

Practical Life - Weaving merino wool

Practical Life - Weaving merino wool. I couldn't resist purchasing real sheep's wool to do this one. I wanted my son to feel the wool, smell it and all. That went wonderful. The tough part was the actual weaving. I used a cooling rack for cakes and cookies and it was very difficult for Adrian. He understood the concept (it was his first time weaving) and the wool stayed together in one lump very well but I think the rack was too small for a first time. It was frustrating for him and so I think next time we weave I'll try our clothes drying rack instead. Want to use real wool as well? I purchased ours for what I consider "cheap" on Ebay from a seller named "crystalcreekfibers" after searching for raw wool. In the end, I bought this merino wool for spinning. I liked that it had no matter in it. :)