Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was a very craft intensive topic but I did try to sneak in some learning activities here and there.   Since I don't remember the exact order we did things in this week, I'll list all the crafts first and then the learning activities.  Usually sticker activities are done right before or after messier activities.  Since the kids can do these independently it gives me a chance to clean up or prepare.
We used foam heart stickers to make our usual wreaths.  Georgie, as usual, was very meticulous in spacing out his hearts. 

We melted down some of our old crayons in a heart shaped muffin tin to make new colorful crayons.  I will admit with this one, I didn't let the kids just put the crayons randomly.  We took selected colors that we thought would look good together - brown and yellow, red and white, red and pink, etc.  Unfortunately, the kids also had trouble peeling the paper off the crayons (yet they never have trouble when I don't want them to peel it off) and breaking them, since many of them were fat crayons.  So, this ended up being more of a mom project but they waited eagerly for them to cool off so they could use them. 

We used more heart stickers to decorate larger foam hearts.  Georgie sorted his stickers and placed the larger stickers on the larger foam heart and the smaller ones on the smaller foam heart.  Vicki did one of her hearts in all purple.
We made hearts for the window using acetate sheets and tissue paper.  Neither of the kids filled up their heart completely which resulted in it not being real clear that they were hearts.  I think when we do these in the future, I'll need to add a frame.

We also colored coffee filter's with markers than sprayed them with water to make the colors run.  Just like the last time we did these, neither kid put a lot of color on the filter.  They spent a lot of time stacking and playing with the markers instead.  I think they still came out okay.
We did a V is for Valentine tracing page and V is for Valentine magnet page, both from the blog Confessions of a Homeschooler.   We don't use magnets doing the magnet pages since Vicki still puts things in her mouth.  We usually use dot painters or glue on foam circles.  I recently bought a 3/4" circle punch that I used to punch a bunch of circles out of various scrapbook papers and these are what the kids used this time.
We made cards for the grandmothers using doily's and sticker jewels.  This was the first time we used the stick-on jewels and they were a big hit, although Vicki did have some trouble peeling the backing paper off  since they were very small.

Vicki's been showing a lot of interest in letters and the various worksheets Georgie is doing so I figured it was a good time to start working more deliberately with her on letters.  V was a good one to start with since its what her name starts with (obviously) so I made up a worksheets with little pictures for V is for....Vicki, violin, valentine, etc.  I let her use our big and little V stamps to decorate it, along with markers.  At this point in time I'm going to work with her on whatever letter(s) go along with our theme for the week. 

Georgie was really interested in the V stamps while Vicki was using them (they are new) so I let him use them on his greater than/less than worksheet.   I made up this worksheet using Word.
Vicki also did a letter V search page, where she circled all the letter V's.  She did much better at this - both finding the correct letters and then circling them - than I expected her to.  The sheet we used came from
We read two fun stories this week.  Valentine's Day is... by Gail Gibbons and The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll.  After reading The Biggest Valentine Ever we made our own heart mice like the one in the story.   We also did a short reader from Hubbards Cupboard called The Hearts.

We had another snow storm mid-week and missed our YMCA classes so by Friday we were definitely bouncing off the walls.  I was moving all my bookmarks from AOL to Explorer on our new computer and I saw an idea for Musical Hearts on No Time for Flashcards and thought it looked like a great way to work off some energy.   I used some of our extra foam hearts and wrote a variety of suggestions on them.  Some of them I made things we're currently working on - "count to 20 by 2's", "count to 100 by 10's" - and others just for fun - "hop like a bunny", "spin in a circle".  On the site, she played with just one child and I was playing with two, and some of the cards were definitely going to be too hard for Vicki but I figured it was worth a shot.  The game ended up going pretty well and definitely worked off some energy.  Each kid picked a heart and did what was on it so we sometimes had Georgie reciting the alphabet at the top of his lungs while Vicki and I recited Twinkle Little Star at the same time.    The hearts also didn't stay in a circle for very long but it didn't seem to bother them any.
I took some more of our foam hearts (they were kind of slanted hearts from Oriental Trading Co. I didn't like them that much for crafts since they were kind of a funky shape but they were good for games) and made a number game for Vicki.  She's learning her letters well just through play but numbers seem to be harder for her so I thought this would be fun practice.  I numbered hearts from 1 to 10 and then just called out numbers for her to jump on.  She loved doing this, loved hopping from one to the next counting.  She's not ready for putting them in order but I'm sure that will come in time.

The good thing about the foam hearts is that they should be pretty sturdy and last a while.  The bad thing is they made me realize how badly my floor needs to be vacuumed.  They picked up every little piece of fuzz, hair and crumb from the floor.    These games, especially the musical hearts, also made me realize I need to get some kids music.  I had a lot when Stephanie was young but I have no idea where it may be.  I put on the Kid's Tune channel on Dish Network to play our games.  The kids loved the music but some of the songs were a little bizarre.  I could do without listening to the Bratz song.  So, I think I'm going to download some songs from ITunes and make a CD just for the kids.

Our books and videos for the week:

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