The Dollar Tree

I know that I’m not able to resist a trip there and surely, if you’re someone who’s able to shop at high-end establishments, you share no such desire or interest with me.

Oh but how I personally love perusing the aisles for coloring, crafting, toiletries, office supplies and/or home goods!  I think the toys as well, are pretty neat for the price and they really run the gamut.  Keeping a small stash always comes in handy for little visitors or for extras inside of goodie bags.

There’s also a ton of early learning items to be found there.  For example, even with today’s technology, my child was still very excited when I showed him the item below.  He was able to conveniently practice letters during car trips and I myself enjoy this childhood relic on occasion.

My plan is to present my child with a twenty-dollar bill along with instructions to choose twenty items from anywhere in the store that he would like me to purchase.  Of course, the exact total will be a bit more than that after tax, but you get the idea.

If you have more than one kid with you, then divvy up the total as you see fit.

You can do this with a five or ten-dollar bill (we happen to have a $20 that his grandmother gave him to spend as he so wishes.)  If you have money to burn, then by all means, count up even higher.  I think I would personally go bonkers if I had $50 to spend in the Dollar Tree but that’s simply not in the budget.

Or go in the other direction.  If they only have one dollar to spend then maybe they’ll focus on picking a single item that is really special!

Another idea is to have them choose one item per each person they know for surprise gift giving instead.  They can put down on paper the names of each person beforehand as a way to incorporate writing practice to the project.  The options are endless.

For instance, they can also sort by category and collect things like faux flowers, cups, pencils or a notepad.  Speaking of, I simply can’t get enough of writing instruments, folders and clipboards (color coordinated at that!)

 

Sidebar.  I hope when I return they still have a jumbo eraser I spotted but forgot to throw in my cart that had a message on it about making big mistakes.  I want to display it for symbolism.  If only we could invent something that truly wipes out the real errors we’ve made in life (since Mr. Clean’s little white sponge is not really magical.)

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this outing/activity suggestion over the summer months (assuming you won’t be on holiday in the South of France) at the time.

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Busy with business cards

While going through a file box I came across a stack of something that needed another purpose.

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And so, my old business cards have been colored, counted and cut.  We’ve used them to play memory games and arranged them to form different shapes.  They’ve been converted into small flash cards, a mini pennant garland and tools for setting the table.

Future activity ideas will include writing practice (one card per each letter that can be shuffled later for the child to spell their own name) as well as to count how many.  I also thought to save all the colorful dots left over from all the hole-punching for easy table confetti to decorate our next birthday party.

As they’re made out of sturdy card stock, the possibilities are endless.

My Favorite Things – ABC Flash Cards

Over the years, I’ve put together several early learning presentations.  I’d play them on our old computer or connect a cable to the television to view on a larger screen.  Nowadays you don’t need a wire and with Screen Mirroring, all you need is Internet access and your smart phone will do.

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(Kids get a kick out of being able to play the presentations while I use my pointer for emphasis.)

Here’s just another set of ABC flash card slides thanks to MS PowerPoint (which you can then import into Google Slides for sharing as I have done.)

These slides are supposed to be a focus on our favorite things but with preschoolers, it’s more like the first things that came to mind.  Then there was an issue with K.  For no apparent reason, my suggestions for Kiss, Karate, Kite, Kangaroo or Knight were a fail while Ketchup was unanimous.  Then there’s the case of the bitter X.  Not many new or easy choices for this letter with little ones, am I right?  But hey, we do enjoy our Xylophone and X-Rays always remind us of Dem Bones.  And, no need to wait for Halloween to begin doing The Skeleton Dance!

Play around with the software if you’re interested and come up with your own flash card favorites.  Our next project is photos of actual family members (Aunt, Brother, Cousin, Dad, Grandma, Dad, etc.) and if you have any pets, you should include them too!

Hope you enjoy our ABC Favorite Things Slide Show you can view here!

Note:

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that yes, the very mention of My Favorite Things always brings me me back to The Sound of Music.

Puzzle Piece Flash Card Fun

19366258_1695850104049980_3213347774118269053_nWe have quite a few puzzles by Melissa and Doug around and the younger ones are still trying to put the right pieces in the right place.  Once a child has mastered the task however, they move on and get creative by incorporating the pieces into other forms of play, which is great!

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With this in mind, I thought of another option by printing the names of each piece as cards that we can remove from the deck, one at time.

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Mommy Scribble

If the child is able to read the word they see, they can go ahead and put the correlating piece in the appropriate place on the puzzle.  If not, we set them aside to go over them again later.

Some of the words are more familiar (as they’ve seen them before in our standard flash cards) such as “cow” but “excavator” not so much.  It’s all good.  They’ll get there, eventually!

This is a great way for us to continue working with the same puzzles we already have, but on another level as a new experience.  Maybe you have some of these in your toy chest too.  Our puzzles cover some of the animals found on the farm and jungle, sea creatures, as well as, vehicles for transportation and construction sites.

If you’d like to print the sheets we used for this puzzle piece sight word game, you can find them here.

Hope you like this activity idea and enjoy!

 

 

Letter of the Day is Q

One day we picked a letter from the flash card deck and turned it into the “Letter of the Day.”  I like to create little rhymes for everything too so once I begin chanting the verse for any given activity, it means we’ll soon begin.

20170509_175827.jpgThis is a a basic game where we look for the letter in our other flash cards, as well as refer to our alphabet posters and/or wall stickers.  Quail was used often, one is named Quincy in fact.  But, we also had Quilt and thanks to files shared by the educational website From ABCs to ACTs, we walked like a Queen.  (Note to self: Crown craft.)

If you notice, we also have the letter in sign language.  (Super Simple Songs will familiarize you with them all while you move to their catchy Alphabet Chant.)

20170509_180221.jpgSeparate posts will follow, as we randomly continue going through each letter.

Follow on Facebook if you’re interested in viewing albums that contain early learning flash card-style photos.  They’ve entertained children during long waits away from home (in our case at the doctor’s office.)  You might forget a toy, book or tablet but for sure, you’ll have your phone.

Find any of the videos Bloggedabout above saved to a YouTube Playlist for easy reference.

Hope you like this activity idea!

Kids keep me busy with things like this but so does the kitchen and the food happens here.

 

 

 

ABC States

… they exist in an alternate universe and we get to name them!

We love puzzles and while putting together some large pieces on the floor to form a map of the United States (Melissa & Doug has one we like very much) I thought of some other things we could do.

First, I looked up an alphabetical list of the 50 states I printed to keep visible.  Then, I created a table format in MS Word to have cut out cards for each state.  They can be categorized by each letter in the alphabet they represent.  For the letters that don’t have any states associated with them, we’ll play a game of make believe.  Naturally, they exist in an alternate universe and we get to name them!  What did your kids come up with?

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We’ll learn new things about the state we live in, as well as, those where any of our friends and family reside.  (You can find fun facts for each state on the wonderful website aptly titled A to Z Kids Stuff.)  We’ll also talk about places we’d like to visit (Hollywood, California to be exact) or mom & dad’s retirement plans for the Florida Keys.

The younger ones can lay out or hand us the alphabet cards (we happen to have a sturdy jumbo set) while the older ones associate them with each state.  Team work!  Hope you like this activity idea.

Follow on Facebook to view our ABC states photo album and more.

Kids keep me busy with things like this but so does the kitchen and food happens here.