Starting our 11th week of preschool with Halloween was so much fun! We’re not big on the day like some people, throwing parties or going all-out with decorations – nothing like Christmas or other holidays that have special meaning – but it’s a great excuse to have fun with the kiddos. One of the things that I have always loved about Halloween – besides the candy and silly costumes – is the fact that virtually everyone in the country opens their doors to others. We should go door-to-door for treats on every holiday!
Before going downstairs to start putting dishes away and making breakfast, I put on a pair of fuzzy kitty ears to amuse the kiddos. They loved it, and pretty soon they were begging to be cats, too. I whipped them up some pom-pom ears, and the whole morning we walked around as cats, even going to the grocery store in our ears and makeup. It was so much fun!
Since we had to get them packed to bring to church on Sunday, our after-breakfast project was packing our Operation Christmas Child boxes. Currently we just do two – one for a boy and one for a girl in the same age group as Gwen and Josiah – but I would like to eventually do more. It’s so much fun picking the items and involving the kiddos in helping to make the holidays special for another child who is less-fortunate. They each decorated a Christmas card and I asked them questions and filled in the blanks on an OCC coloring page that doubles as a letter to the recipients, then they decorated the boxes with stickers and helped me divide up the loot.
We also get the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog with items that can be purchased to support and minister to those around the world, and I’m thinking of picking a few of the smaller items with the kids. A gift of $9 can feed a hungry baby for a week; $14 can supply baby chicks to a needy family.
Daddy had the day off and he helped Gwen with her pumpkin observations and parts of a pumpkin worksheet, both from the Pumpkins unit at 2 Teaching Mommies.
Then Gwen drew a face on her pumpkin and Daddy helped her carve it, remove the guts (Gwen didn’t want to touch them – she’s such a Diva), and put a candle inside. While they were doing this I read the Pumpkin Prayer from Christian Preschool Printables. It’s short and sweet and has a Biblical truth that goes along with each step of making a jack-o-lantern.
We touched on the character of Joshua a bit during the last three weeks about Moses, and this week he was the star. All week, we were singing “Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho,” which also happens to be one of the songs from our Cedarmont Kids Bible Songs DVD. The kids built “walls” with blocks and had fun knocking them over. We also reinforced the story with a movie I remember from my childhood: Joshua & The Battle of Jericho. Our verse for the week was Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”
It’s getting colder around here – we’ve already had our first snow! – so talking about igloos and eskimos seemed fitting. Inspired by this mama’s version, I finally cleared out a pile of rice from the container we use for our sensory bins and made an arctic-themed bin.
cotton balls for snow
white pom poms for snow
styrofoam balls for snow
white legos for blocks of snow
small white blanket for snow drift
blue and grey pompoms for the Arctic Ocean
dish with clear crystal beads for ice
contents of the Safari Lmt Arctic Toob
The kiddos played with it for a few days. They seemed to have the most fun with the pom poms and toy characters, and Gwen used some of the “ice” to make an igloo – she’s so creative!
I don’t buy white sugar anymore, but for our igloo craft I bought a box of sugar cubes. Behold, the sugar cube igloo!
We read a number of books from the library, some of them very simple picture books with basic descriptions of igloos and their purpose for the eskimo (or Inuit people), so while doing our crafts we discussed how they were made and what they were for.
A couple more fun activities were the Arctic Animals and Shadow Statues (Inuksuk) file folder games, both from File Folder Fun. We matched the clues for each animal and the animal names with the pictures for the artic animals, and Gwen matched the statues to their shadows. The next day we made our own Inuksuk craft with rocks from the yard. Gwen piled on her rocks and I told her they might not stick, but lo and behold, they stand fast. I have it propped up on her windowsill for the time being.
I didn’t end up using the elements from the eskimo lapbook I had bookmarked, but I did find a cute mini book called My Book About An Inuit Family. It compares the Inuits with how they used to live and how they live today (eg igloo vs house, dogsled vs snowmobile). I also found an eskimo boy paper doll that Gwen colored and I laminated, a sweet find since I discovered Gwen loves paper dolls.
Over the weekend we had to replace our washing machine – our front-loader kept dumping water all over the floor and not dispensing detergent, arrrgh! – and our visit to the department store afforded us another reinforcement of the theme; igloos are everywhere!
There were a limited number of words we could come up with for the letter I, and even with our index cards for writing down what was around the house and yard that started with the letter, I think all we came up with were “igloo toy” and “ice.” Oh, and “insects”! Gwen decorated her letter page with insect stickers.
We got back on track with the Now I Know My ABC crafts and did “i is for inchworm.” I made it super-easy by having all the pieces already cut out for the kiddos, so really all they had to do was glue the pieces together. I like to let them practice with scissors but sometimes they get frustrated.
Gwen did her playdough mat while Josiah rolled his dough and mashed in some of the elements from the arctic bin to create “pizza” (or something).
Instead of using our usual Alphabet Cut & Paste sheets from Homeschool Creations, we just flipped through some magazine and clipped out pictures for the letter I. Once again, not a whole lot to be found! I found a picture along with a recipe for Indian pudding, and let her go with the eskimo picture since they’re the Inuit people. If I can’t find any I-words, how can I expect my three-year-old to do much better?
From the Pumpkins unit I printed out the seed counting (which I used in conjunction with number flash cards) and clip cards, both of which we used throughout the week. Gwen has taken a shining to the clip cards, and I like how they reinforce not only the actual counting, but numeral recognition.
Our shape of the week was the oval and we did a few workbook pages. We talked about how ovals are squished circles – sort of round – and along with our activity pages read The Shape of the World – Ovals. It’s a very simple book with all sorts of pictures of oval-type things in nature – eggs, grapes, insect bodies, etc.
I picked “Humpty Dumpty” for the rhyme of the week. Not only did it go along with the oval-shaped theme, but reinforced the wall concept from the story of Joshua.
My Friend Isabelle
Ling & Ting
My “i” Book
Ice Cream Everwhere!
The Fairies’ Alphabet Book
Each Orange Had 8 Slices
The Shape of the World – Ovals
DK Eyewitness – Insect
The Greatest Adventure – Joshua and the Battle of Jericho