Friday, May 18, 2012

Preschool: W is... Well for Lots of Things!

We started out 'W' week with a Table Time craft that made the kiddos think and use their imagination. I gave them a "window" made with a piece of white construction paper that we drew a centered vertical and centered horizontal line on to represent the pane. Then we cut out a frame out of brown construction paper and glued it to the outside. Each kiddo's spot was set up with markers and the window when they came in. The directions were to draw what is outside of their window, or use their imagination and decide what they might see out a window on vacation, or somewhere in their house. This could easy be turned into an early journaling with a prompt written on the top, "When I look out my window, I see..." and the kids could finish the sentence while you write it for them.
 This little one chose to draw some people out her window.
This kiddo has some livestock and that is what he drew! 

At Circle Time we read one of my favorite books, "Mrs. Wishy Washy's Farm"!
It is a cute book that uses rhyming prose. The kiddos loved it as much as I did. 
The animals run away from their farm because they don't like baths. 
They go into the city, get really dirty, go to animal jail and eventually make it back home, thankful to get a bath! 

We also talked about pigs. Click Here for a free printable of the pig fact sheet that I made.
(here is a preview)

During Free Play, I set up several centers. 
The first center included a tub of water, a scrub brush, a spray bottle and some small plastic farm animals. The kiddos had a blast playing in the water. ( I do recommend wearing art smocks for water play.)

The next center was also a washing station, except we used water beads, a scrubber and plastic animals. 
Kids could wash the animals in a tub full of sensory fun! If you have not discovered water beads yet, you must head to your local craft store immediately and get lots! They are the coolest thing. They start out super tiny, you put them in water and over the course of a few hours they swell to a much larger size. They are squishy and therapeutic to play in. The kids LOVED this station. Best thing is, the water beads will last forever (well maybe not forever...) You can buy them at craft stores in the floral section. They are cheap too! 

The art center was filled with pig cut outs that I pre-glued to various colors of construction paper and paint cups filled with brown paint and coffee grounds. I originally saw this idea here. She mixed her brown paint with oatmeal and sand I think. I forgot my oatmeal and only had purple sand on hand, so I used ground coffee and it worked out perfectly. 
 Just mix up the 2!
And let the kiddos get their hands dirty!!!!!

Such a fun day! The students did not even get out a single free play toy. They choose to travel the centers all free play long! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Final Week of the 12 Week Challenge!

The final week is finally here! I hope that you have learned something new and created a few new healthy habits.
The last challenge is difficult. We are going to detox. Your choice is how long you choose to detox. Most recommend somewhere between 3-7 days. But that can get difficult and tricky. Detoxing is a great way to kick start weight loss and kick sluggishness. But friends, it is certainly no easy task. Here is a basic outline of what I do when I detox. (Try First Cleanse for a good colon cleanser)

Day 1
-Raw fruits and veggies only. Water only. Only vineger and a small splash of oil on salad. No meat. No dairy. Eat every 2 hours. (Take a colon cleanser at night)

Day 2
-Raw fruits. Mostly raw veggies, or some lightly steamed. No meat, No dairy. Water only. A handful of raw nuts or seeds. Eat every 2 hours. (End the day with a colon cleanse)

Day 3
- Raw fruits. Mostly raw veggies, or some lightly steamed. No meat, No dairy. Water only. A handful of raw nuts or seeds. You may add 2 eggs into your day and 1 serving of white fish. You may also add beans. Eat every 2 hours. (End the day with a colon cleanse)

Day 4- Here is where it gets tricky. They recommend a 24 hour water fast. That means only water for 24 hours. I have done it. It was in the middle of summer and water felt good to drink all day long. I started at 5:00pm and went to 5 pm the next day. DO NOT DO THIS BEFORE TALKING WITH YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE ANY HEALTH ISSUES. You can skip this part if you choose, or try cutting it down to a by a little over half. Start your water fast at 6 pm and go til noon the next day.

If you want to detox longer than 4 days, then just repeat whichever day you feel most comfortable with. When getting back into routine, try to choose whole grains in your diet. Avoid greasy foods. This can really help you get a good bit of weight off in a few days. You really get a lot of energy and feel healthy. I will warn you though, it is a detox, I usually get a headache the first day or 2. And they recommend you do not take anything for it.

Thank you for joining me! Remember to visit back if you need to revisit any of the challenges! They are at the tab at the top of the page! Good luck! :) :) :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Preschool: S is for Spider

If you are talking about spiders in Preschool, then you have to read "The Very Busy Spider" By: Eric Carle. I love that the pages have a raised edge for the spider web. :) It just seems classic.

I have done many different spider crafts over the last four years with the kids. The problem is that all of those require a great deal of preparation on my part. This year I decided to do a Spider Free Art Center.  It was a ton of fun and had very little preparation. All you need is some paper plates, construction paper, glue, stapler and a variety of craft items. We used sequins, dot painters, wiggly eyes, stickers, tissue paper squares, pom poms... you get the idea. Just cut 1 inch strips of construction paper for the spider legs. In my smaller class, kids were able to help staple the legs onto the spider, however many they wanted, wherever they wanted.  In my larger class, a parent helper pre-stapled the legs onto the spiders. I set tables up with spiders and a tray of craft items. Kids could travel over and complete a spider. Little to no direction was needed. Free process art allows them to be independent thinkers. It lets them have free creative control. It is important for their little minds. I am learning this. Free art is still a grainy concept for me. I think there is a great deal of value in directed art as well. But I am having fun with free art stations. There is so much you can do with them. Let the children's creativity shine. Let them shine.  :)

Then staple a little yarn to the back and have your wonderful, amazing, talented husband hang them from the ceiling for you! 

Fun, cute and simple!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week 11 of the 12 Week Challenge!

Well folks, we are almost there. Week 11. I can't believe it! Just in time for summer! How have you been doing so far? Slacking on those workouts? Sneaking a soda? Me too. (Not the soda part) Well this challenge will kick you butt into gear! We are cutting DOWN the carbs. Notice I did not say cutting out the carbs. There is this widespread rumor that diets like Atkins and South Beach are bad for you. And Dr. Atkins died from it. Not true. He died from slipping on the ice and busting his head which caused a hematoma. That is not important though. What is important is understanding carbs and how they work. Then you can monitor your intake.

There are 2 kinds of carbs. Simple carb=bad carbs, and complex carbs=good carbs. The name is based on the the make up of the carb and how the body breaks it down. For example a complex carb like brown rice, it takes your body longer to break down the molecules thus creating an even amount of energy to be released over a longer period of time.

Simple carbs like candy, pastries, potatoes and white breads and pastas are composed of simple to digest sugars that have no value to your body. When choosing a carb look for high fiber and low sugar. A simple switch can make a big difference in your diet. Choose whole wheat or enriched pasta over white pasta. Swap white bread for wheat. You don't have to cut carbs completely out. In fact, that is not good for you. Carbs are your main source of energy. But make healthy choices. A piece of fruit, which is actually a simple carb, is better for you than a piece of cake, also a simple carb. The fruit is unprocessed and has more nutritional value.

Here is a cute little chart that shows you some more valuable information about how sneaky carbs can be: I found it via Pinterest.

So this week, make some healthy choices. Complex carbs over simple ones. Wheat, enriched, unprocessed. Here are some low carb recipes from my blog...Give em a try! :)

Spicy or Sweet Sausage Stew (This isn't low carb, but the carbs are complex carbs, high in fiber)

Creamy Garden Pasta with Asparagus

Low Carb Quesadillas

Give it a shot! Make healthy choices! :) 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Preschool: T is for Transportation (and why I teach)

What a super fun theme! I can get easily overwhelmed when doing the 'letter of the week'. Especially when there are so many great word associations. Truck, tractor, train, transportation! I get way too excited about alliterations. Sometimes I even point them out to my students. They are 3 and 4. Do they really need to know about alliterations? Probably not, but hey, they excite me! :) So for the letter T week, I went with a transportation theme.

As usual, I introduced the letter at Table Time first thing in the morning. We did a fun transportation collage. Kiddos picked a form of transportation and then created a scene around them. The tables were set up with an array of dot painters, markers, glue and die cuts of planes, trains, helicopters, motorcycles, trucks, etc. I purchased a pack of 32 die cut shapes at Michael's last summer for 79¢! Love a great deal!  See what other craft we did with them here!  Here is what some of them came up with:

I love the clouds in the sky and the train tracks!
Look at the sinking sailboat and the dirt in the dump truck!
Simple sky and sea :)

 There is a shot of all the beautiful creations! Love them!

The mural in the middle is simply freezer paper that I taped to the wall. I put a single color of paint on a paper plate, then placed the paper plate on a tray. I put a car, truck or tractor on each tray. Kiddos could pick a tray, run the vehicle through the paint and then onto the wall. T is for Tire Tracks!
That had a great time! They even used a foam truck stamp that I found at Ollie's for 49¢ and stamped it here and there on the tracks.

During circle time we defined and explained transportation and then listed all types. The kids lasted 10 minutes brainstorming and listing things! It was so fun and really got them involved in a thought process.  We used question and answer, problem solving and hints to come up with all types of transportation. For instance, after they were done shouting them out, I would ask a question like this, "How do you think people got from place to place before there were cars?"
You could see the wheels (ha! no pun intended!) turning in their little brains. They came up with horse, feet, and bike.
Then I asked, "Before airplanes could take us over the water, how do you think people made it from country to country. (They understand the concept of countries and water in between because we frequently looked at the map during our World Awareness Unit.) They thought about it and came up with different types of water transportation. We did this several times before reading our book, "Emergency!" You can find it here.
By the end of the morning, I knew they understood the concept of transportation. This is why I teach. That moment. The click in the brain. If you knew how much money I made teaching, you would laugh. You would wonder why I do it.  If I told you how many hours I spend planning and preparing, you would think I was crazy. But, I teach for the moments. The random hugs. The "I love you"s. The pureness of their hearts. The beaming smiles after words of praise. The privilege of being able to tell them how much Jesus loves them and watching their face as the begin to understand. The moment when some tear up hearing the Easter story. The feeling at the end of the day when I know I made a difference; I gave them a good start. That is why I teach. That is why my husband and I don't have our own house. It is why we drive old, cheap cars. It is why I don't care about those kind of things. A house and a car will loose their appeal. The car eventually will breakdown and rust, the house will need always need fixing or new paint. The kids I teach get things that will last forever. I get moments to cherish that will last forever. It is worth it. Every sacrifice I make for someone else's child is worth it.
And I pray I can teach for the rest of my life.
Those little bundles of energy are a huge blessing to me. They are a huge part of my life; a huge part of my Beautiful Chaos.

Back on track:
Here are some of the types of transportation the kiddos came up with:
Our own feet
Golf cart