Moon and Stars Lesson Plan

February 2, 2014 in Lesson Plans, Preschool, Space, Toddler, Uncategorized

February is here already and that means it’s time for a new unit of study. This month’s ‘Outer Space’ unit is brand new to us so we are excited to explore it right along with you for the very first time! Up first is our ‘Moon and Stars’ theme. As always, you can download the printable lesson plan below or follow along on line for more detailed descriptions and links to activities. Have a great weekend and see you back next week to share some of our activities in action!

Moon and Stars Lesson Plan : play learn love February 1 Moon and Stars Lesson Plan copy

Day 1

Circle Time

Moon Poem: play learn love Moon Poem

 

  • Do: Letter M Mystery Bag

A.M. Activity: Crater Experiment

P.M. Activity: Moon Walk  Dance Party – bounce on couch cushions as we listen to our Outer Space play list 

Day 2

Circle Time

A.M. Activity: Moon Paint (white tempera paint + flour) on Letter M Cut-out

P.M. Activity: Moon Sand Sensory Play

 

Day 3

Circle Time

A.M. Activity: S-T-A-R Beanbag Toss ( toss shooting star bean bags into baskets with the letters S, T, A, and R on them)

P.M. Activity: Flashlight Constellations 

 

 

Hedgehog Fine Motor Craft

January 29, 2014 in Arts and Crafts, Fine Motor Activities, Preschool, Toddler

This adorable hedgehog craft was, hands down, my favorite activity from last week’s Winter Animals lesson plan! We did this project after reading The Mitten by Jan Brett. My girls love the little hedgehog in the book so they were super excited to make their own cute little critters. Not only did this craft yield a cute final product, but it captured the attention of both my toddler and my preschooler which is a huge success in my book!

 Fine Motor Hedgehog Craft: play learn love

What They Learn:

  • Fine Motor: inserting toothpicks
  • Concentration: applying paint to a 3D surface
  • Following Directions: listening to the procedure and duplication the process

What You Need:

  • Styrofoam ball
  • Toothpicks (one ended, some times called Japanese or ‘Fancy’, toothpicks work best)
  • Brown, White, and Black Tempera Paint
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue

What You Do:

To get started, I prepared the styrofoam ball by cutting off  a 1/4″ section from the base to make the hedgehog’s body sit flat. From the small removed section of the ball, I  cut a wedge that was about 1/3 of the circle to use as the head.  The kids helped attach the head to the body by sticking a toothpick through both pieces as I held them in place. I gave each of the girls a paint brush and some brown paint and let them go at it until they had covered the entire surface.

046

My kiddo’s were anxious to start sticking toothpicks so theirs got a little messy as they stuck them into the body. You can let your hedgehog dry in between if you prefer. This step was lots of fun and I was pleasantly surprised that my 21 month old was able to do it on her own!

hedgehog craft

After our hedgehogs were dry we glued on some googly eyes, painted on a black nose and some white detailing around the hedgehog’s head.  These little guys turned out so cute and have been fun to play with as well. What a fun fine motor activity for these little critter lovers!

Fine Motor Hedgehog Craft: play learn love

Lego Animal Alphabet Cards – Complete Set

January 27, 2014 in Early Literacy, Fine Motor Activities, Preschool

I am thrilled to be bringing you the very last set of our Lego Animal Alphabet Cards today!!!  Last week, B-inspired Mama shared letters U-W and today we are finishing up the series with letters X, Y, and Z. Though it may have taken a little…okay, a LOT longer than I anticipated to get these cards completed, I had a lot of fun working on this project and hope you will enjoy this last set as much as the rest.

Lego Animal Alphabet Cards :play learn loveLego Animal Alphabet X-Z

You can find the rest of our Lego Animal Alphabet Cards here:

Lego Animals A-D

Lego Animals E-H

Lego Animals I-L

Lego Animals M-P

Lego Animals Q-T

Lego Animals U-W

“Bundle Up” Winter Lesson Plan

January 25, 2014 in Lesson Plans, Preschool, Printables, Toddler, Uncategorized

The last week of January is upon us already and we are ready to end our winter unit with a bang! Next weeks theme, “Bundle Up”, is all about winter weather and staying warm so get ready to put on those jackets and boots! Feel free to download our printable lesson plan below or follow along online.

 
"Bundle Up" Winter Lesson Plan : play learn love  Bundle Up Lesson Plan 

Day 1

Circle Time

  • Read: The Hat by Jan Brett
  • Recite: Mittens Poem

Mittens PoemMittens

  • Do: Letter M mystery bag

A.M. Activity: Little Buddy Winter Clothes Dress Up (Create a “little buddy” by stuffing a pair of footy pajamas and adding a paper bag head. Dress him up in winter gear for a fun practical life                                  activity)

P.M. Activity: Clothesline Mitten Matching Game

 

Day 2

Circle Time

 

A.M. Activity: Painting with Boots (use boots to stamp footprints on paper or lay down paper on the floor and stomp around in paint to make tracks)

P.M. Activity: Mitten Bean Bag Toss

 

Day 3

Circle Time

  • Read: The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel
  • Recite: Mitten Poem
  • Do: Marshmallow Drop Counting Game (have kids take turns putting one marshmallow at a time into a small mouthed container as we count to see how many it takes to fill it up)

A.M. Activity: Mitten Finger Painting on Letter M Cut-Out

P.M. Activity:  Epsom Salt Winter Sensory Bin

 

*clip art from sweetclipart.com*

Top 3 Indoor Winter Activities

January 23, 2014 in Arts and Crafts, Gross Motor Activities, Preschool, Toddler, Winter

 

We’ve been having so much wintery fun these past few weeks. I don’t know about you, but I am always especially thankful to have a few activities up my sleeve this time of year when little ones are restless from being cooped up indoors. These highlights from our Winter Sports and Snow Day Lesson Plans are sure to entertain your kiddos on even the chilliest of days!

 

Confetti Snow Angels

Indoor Confetti Snow Angels : play learn love

Cut up paper into tiny bits, throw it on the floor, and roll around in it…What kid wouldn’t go for that? This activity was seriously awesome and about as simple as it gets. I cut a stack of scrap paper into strips and then they hacked away at it until we ended up with a big bowl of confetti. Even little sister determinedly tried her hand at the scissors for the first time! They loved every part of this activity from practicing their cutting skills, to throwing it the air, to making snow angels, and even cleaning up. They stole the vacuum right out of my hands and had such a blast watching the paper crackle and pop as it disappeared into the tube. It turned out to be an unexpected science exploration in itself! Definitely worth the mess!

Confetti Snow Angels

Snowflake Window Painting Tape Resist

Tape Resist Snowflake Window Painting : play learn love

Speaking of mess… this one definitely falls into that category, BUT please don’t let that turn you off. This activity was loads of fun and yielded beautiful results! I used masking tape to make snowflake designs on the windows then whipped up a batch of window paint ( tempera + dish soap) and invited the kids over to decorate. We used sponge brushes, which were super fun especially with the bubbly paint, but any brushes and even finger painting would work great!  I should have laid down a drop cloth (and  recommend that you do if you try this for yourself) but now worries, the paint easily wiped up after we were done. The next morning the girls peeled off the tape to reveal our beautiful snowflake design. This is such a fun way to display the kid’s art and we definitely plan on doing it again to decorate for different seasons and holidays!

snowflake window painting

Indoor Sledding Hill

Indoor Sledding Energy Buster : play learn love

This activity is the perfect energy buster for any snow day! I built a mountain out of our ottoman and couch cushions and draped a large white fitted sheet over  it to help hold it together and make it look like snow. The girls grabbed their sleds and knew just what to do.  They had so much fun climbing up and sliding down our mountain, experimenting with different positions, and even giving their stuffed animals and dolls a ride! This has been a most requested activity in our house all month long. My girls highly recommend it!

indoor sledding collage

Hello Kitty Party Signs

January 20, 2014 in Party Ideas

I hope you all enjoyed last week’s tutorial on our DIY Hello Kitty Invitations! This week I am  sharing another one of my favorite DIY elements with you – our custom Hello Kitty Party Signs! These signs were great to help carry out the theme and direct our guests to the different  ”stations” throughout the party. I hope you enjoy and be sure not to miss the downloadable templates at the bottom of the post for your own personal party use!

DIY Hello Kitty Party Signs : play learn love

We kicked off the party by welcoming guests into our home with our  ”Hello Friends” sign!  I designed the Hello Kitty medallions for each sign in Photoshop and then jazzed them up with some coordinating scrap book paper for a custom flair.  For this sign I simply printed and cut out the template, pasted it on some turquoise card stock and hot glued a red ribbon to the frame for a hanger.

DIY Hello Kitty Front Door Sign : play learn love The other three signs designated our present table, photo booth station, and tattoo station.  Once again, I cut out the templates and pasted them on top of the layered red and turquoise card stock and put them in frames.

Hello Kitty Party Stations : play learn love

These were so quick and easy to whip up and added such a lovely element to the party! If you have a Hello Kitty party in your future, feel free to help yourself to the downloadable templates below for your own personal use!

Hello Kitty Body Art Sign

Hello Kitty Body Art Sign Hello Kitty Door Sign

 Hello Kitty Door Sign Hello Kitty Present Table Sign

Hello Kitty Present Table Sign
Hello Kitty Photo Booth Sign Hello Kitty Photo Booth Sign

 

Thanks and stay tuned for more Hello Kitty Party posts to come!

Winter Animals Lesson Plan

January 18, 2014 in Lesson Plans, Preschool, Toddler

We are chugging right along with our winter theme this month. We have had so much fun with our winter sports and snow day lesson plans so far! Next week’s winter animal lesson plan is one I’ve been looking forward to all month long.  You can download a printable version of the lesson plan below or follow along online.  See you back next week to share some of our activities in action!

Winter Animal Lesson Plan : play learn love January 3 Winter Animal Lesson Plan

Day 1

Circle Time

Winter Animals Poem

 Winter Animals Poem

 

 

  • D0: letter H mystery bag

A.M. Activity –  paint letter H cut-out with cocoa paint ( white paint mixed with hot cocoa)

P.M. Activity – winter animal ice sensory play

 

Day 2

Circle Time

  • Read: The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • Recite: Winter Animals poem 
  • Do: “The Mitten” puppet show reenactment

A.M. Activity – toothpick and Styrofoam ball hedgehog craft

P.M. Activity – kitchen table bear den pretend play

 

Day 3

Circle Time

A.M. Activity – animal tracks in play dough and letter H play dough mat

P.M. Activity – blubber experiment

 

DIY Alphabet Fishing Set

January 16, 2014 in Early Literacy, Preschool, Toddler

Last week as part of our Winter Sports unit, Emily and I made this adorable fishing set for some ice fishing pretend play. This craft was so fun to make, even more fun to play with, and only required a few simple supplies!

Magnetic Alphabet Fishing Game : play learn love

What You’ll Need:

  •  26 socks (solid colors/ simple designs so the letters are easily readable)
  •  puff paint
  •  Poly-fill stuffing
  •  strong magnets – one per fish
  •  rubber bands
  •  wooden dowel
  •  metal paperclip
  •  yarn

A couple of days before I planned to do this activity with the kids I wrote letters on the bottom of the socks using puff paint so they would be dry and ready to stuff when we needed them. Once they were dry, Emily helped make the fish by first dropping a magnet into the toe of the sock and then stuffing full with Poly-fill stuffing. After she stuffed each fish she handed them off to me to tie off with a rubber band. We found that securing the magnet in tip of the sock with a rubber band kept it from moving around inside the sock and made it easier to catch the fish. To make the rods I cut a piece of yarn to size and tied one end to a wooden dowel and the other to a metal paperclip. I secured the yarn to the dowel with a dab of glue to keep it from sliding off through vigorous casting! With our fish and rods complete we were ready to try our hand at ice fishing.

Ice Fishing Pretend Play : play learn love

The girls had loads of fun fishing and it was a great way to sneak in some letter practice with the little one. Maddie doesn’t have a real good handle on letters yet so at this stage we just excitedly announce the letter and sound every time she catches a fish. If your toddler recognizes many or all of the letters, you can ask them to catch certain letters or to tell you the sound of the letter they catch. Older children can be challenged by asking them to spell words with the fish they catch! This game is fun for all ages and easily adaptable for all skill levels. The possibilities are endless!

Ice Fishing Pretend Play

DIY Hello Kitty Birthday Invitation

January 15, 2014 in Party Ideas, Uncategorized

Last weekend we wrapped up my daughter’s week-long birthday celebration with a very Hello Kitty birthday party! It was such a fun day and I am so excited to share all the DIY elements with you. To kick things off, here’s a look at our DIY Hello Kitty birthday invitations!

DIY Hello Kitty Invitation : play learn love

These invitations were simple to make and were such a special touch to set the theme of the party! I sketched a quick template of Hello Kitty’s head and then traced and cut out the number of invitations I needed. Next, I cut out black ovals for Kitty’s eyes, yellow ovals of the same size for her nose, and black strips for whiskers and glued them on each face. 
Hello Kitty invitation with detachable hair bow : play learn love

 I then wrote a little birthday poem and whipped up this design with the party details to print and paste on the back of the invitations.

Hello Kitty invitation with birthday poem: play learn love

 Lastly I punched two holes at the base of the right ear to clip a sweet little hair bow (found at Hobby Lobby) to. Emily was so excited to deliver them to her little friends and it was neat to see all the little girls show up on the day of the party with their hair all done up in their little bow!

linking up with:

Snow Day Lesson Plan

January 10, 2014 in Lesson Plans, Preschool, Winter

I hope you enjoyed this week’s lesson plan! We will be continuing our winter unit next week with our “Snow Day and the Letter S” lesson. You can fin the printable version at the bottom of this post. See you back next week as we put our plan in action!

 Snow Day Lesson Plan : play learn love

Day 1

Circle Time

Read: Clifford’s First Snow Day by Norman Bridwell

Recite: introduce  Chubby Little Snowman Poem

Chubby Little Snowman PrintableA Chubby Little Snowman Printable

          Do: Letter S Mystery Bag

AM: snowflake and letter S tape resist window painting ( three parts paint, two parts dish soap)

PM: snow paint (our favorite recipe is Shivery Snow Paint from Growing a Jeweled Rose) on letter S cut-out  

 

Day 2

Circle Time

Read:  Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

Recite: point to words as we recite A Chubby Little Snowman

Do: Snowball (white pom poms) sorting by size

AM: play dough snowmen ( our favorite recipe is snow dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose ) and letter S play dough mat

PM: bring snow in from outside (if available) for snowman loose part play (buttons, felt scraps, sticks, nuts, etc)

 

Day 3

Circle Time

Read: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Recite: take turns reciting Chubby Little Snowman while a friend acts it out

Do: Snowball Letter Magnet Matching

AM: confetti snow angels on kitchen floor

PM: cotton ball snowball fight

 

  Snow Day Lesson Plan Printable : play learn love January 2 Winter Sports Lesson Plan

Winter Sports Lesson Plan

January 3, 2014 in Lesson Plans, Preschool, Toddler, Winter

We’re Back!!! I am so excited to be back from our winter break and ready to jump back into the swing of things starting Monday. I though I’d drop in today and share our upcoming lesson plan for those of you who would like to follow along.  I hope you enjoy and I’ll see you back next week to share some of our activities in action! Oh, and be sure not to miss the printable version of the lesson plan down at the bottom of the post!

Winter Sports Lesson Plan : play learn love

January Week 1 : Winter Sports – Letter I and sight word “You”

Day 1

Circle Time

Read: Angelina Ice Skates by Katharine Holabird

Recite: Introduce January poem

Preschool January Poem

January Poem Printable

          Do: Letter I Mystery Bag

AM :  I is for Ice : paint letter I cut-out with frozen blue paint ( freeze paint in ice cube tray or other containers with craft sticks for handles)

PM: play silk ice skating (sub waxed paper if you don’t have play silks)

 

Day 2

Circle Time

Read: The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

Recite: point to words as we read January poem

Do: Foam Block Color Sorting


AM: make magnetic stuffed alphabet fish out of old socks for ice fishing pretend play

PM: ice fishing pretend play

 

Day 3

Circle Time

Read: Curious George Snowy Day by H. A. Rey

Recite: take turns reciting January poem while other person acts it out

Do: Snowflake Memory Game from Activity Village

AM: shaving cream (or whipped cream) plan and letter writing practice

Learning Time Activity: Read “You” sight word book,

PM:  couch cushion sledding hill

January - Winter Sports Lesson Plan : Play Learn

 

January 1 Winter Sports Lesson Plan

Big Announcement!

December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you’ve noticed the sudden lack of posting over the past couple of months, I apologize. Life got busy, crazy busy, and I unexpectedly had to shift priorities in order to give my family my best. I’m sure you can relate. I have a big announcement today that hopefully means great things ahead for this blog! Beginning in January I will officially be a full-time stay at home mom! This is something I have dreamed of for a long time and thanks to my hard working husband, my dreams will soon be reality! Ever since my oldest daughter was born, I have been working as a nanny. It’s been a wonderful opportunity that’s allowed me to be with my children and still contribute to our family’s income. I love every child and family that I’ve worked with along the way and appreciate the friendships my children have made, but as they’ve grown older it’s become challenging to keep up with their needs when my attention is divided. I am so looking forward to this new season of our lives and have many goals to optimize this opportunity. First and foremost is giving my girls the time and attention they deserve. I feel guilty for my lack of effort recently when it comes to the girls development and plan to focus a lot more on educational games and activities once again.  That, coupled with a more time on my hands means good blogging material!  That said, I’ve realized during this impromptu break, just how time consuming blogging is. It’s so much more than planning activities and writing about them. The hours of behind the scenes work can quickly become overwhelming. So what does that mean for Play Learn Love?  Well first off, we will still be here sharing our playful learning activities with you on a regular basis! To help find a balance, I will be focusing on quality over quantity of posts. You may not see multiple posts a week like before, but everything you see will be worth the read! I realize I have a few unfinished projects in the works – Lego Alphabet Animals and Lesson plans to name a couple. I apologize for leaving  you hanging. I am working on finishing up the last two sets of lego animals and will have them available by the beginning of January. As for lesson plans, I’ve had a great deal of interest in these and am working on a way to make them more manageable for me to get them to you on a regular basis and easier for you to follow. It may be a while before I have the perfect system worked out, but I truly appreciate your interest and will do my best to find a way to make it happen! Thank you so much for your understanding and any feedback about what YOU would like to see here on Play Learn Love would be greatly appreciated!

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