Category Archives: art & music

Halloween Jar Candles

I love Halloween! There are so many fun kid crafts to make- including these darling painted jars from Family Fun! I knew I had to have my kiddo and I try our hand at these!

The first step is to collect all your supplies.

-clean empty glass jars

-masking tape

-acrylic paint

-paintbrushes

  1. Cut the masking tape into face shapes. We made jack-o-lanterns and ghosts- so we cut out a bunch of triangles and circles. 
  2. Have your little one help you apply the masking tape faces onto the jars. So easy, fun, and shapes are repositional if needed! 
  3. Your child can then have fun painting away! 
  4. painting is such hard work!
  5. Once the paint is dry, peel away the tape. 
  6. jars before the tape is removed
  7. Add a tealight inside the jar as a finishing touch, and you have a glowing masterpiece!
This idea was found on Pinterest!!

Happy Haunting!

13 NIghts of Halloween Song

Here is a little song I wrote to go along with our 13 Days of Halloween. (Inspired by a similar song found at Perpetual Preschool.) A little something fun to sing at night after spending the day having fun with each theme.

13 Nights of Halloween (sung to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas)
On the first night of Halloween my goblin (or la bruja, zombie, werewolf, or my favorite…Mommy 🙂 ) gave to me,
A witch tangled up in a tree.

On the second night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the third night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the fourth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the fifth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the sixth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the seventh night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the eighth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Eight spiders spinning, seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the ninth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Nine mummies waving, eight spiders spinning, seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the tenth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Ten monsters chasing, nine mummies waving, eight spiders spinning, seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the eleventh night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Eleven houses haunting, ten monsters chasing, nine mummies waving, eight spiders spinning, seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the twelfth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Twelve owls fluttering, eleven houses haunting, ten monsters chasing, nine mummies waving, eight spiders spinning, seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

On the thirteenth night of Halloween my goblin gave to me,
Thirteen treats I’m chewing, twelve owls fluttering, eleven houses haunting, ten monsters chasing, nine mummies waving, eight spiders spinning, seven black cats hissing, six bats a flying, five vampire bites, four silly skeletons, three jack-o-lanterns, two spooky ghosts, and a witch tangled up in a tree.

Happy Haunting!

Star Spangled Banner

Flag day is coming up in a couple weeks, and in honor of this great U.S. holiday I want to teach my daughter the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner. While I don’t expect her to completely understand the meaning behind the lyrics, I think it is important to share with her a touching tribute to our flag.

Here is what I created to help my daughter comprehend the Star Spangled Banner. The first file has clipart, the second file has blank squares for an older child to illustrate the meaning behind each line. I was in a hurry to put these together (long story short- I am experiencing computer related nausea- nice, huh!) so I apologize if I misused anyone’s copyrighted pics. I will gladly change them out if you let me know.

Star Spangled Banner Clipart
Star Spangled Banner Blank Song Sheet 

I hope these files help you and your little ones understand and appreciate the importance of our flag! It really is an incredible symbol of courage, determination, and perseverance… and no matter where we live or what we believe, I think we would all agree that those are qualities worth striving for!!

Happy Teaching!

Praise to the Man Song Sheets

Watching my daughter “sit”in Primary is hilarious. She is a very active little girl, and loves to socialize with others around her. Needless to say she needed a little help learning the songs for the Primary program!
To help her learn the chorus of Praise to the Man, I created this song sheet.
Praise to the Man
We would sing through it once or twice a day. I pulled out the dinosaurs (my daughters FAVORITE toys) to help us role play certain parts of the chorus. T-Rex and Allosaurus were the traitors and tyrants. Naturally, since they are all carnivores and in her eyes the carnivores are always the bad guys! The traitors and tyrants would fight with the herbivores (a.k.a. good guys) but were met with shouts of “You’re fighting us in vain!” The dinosaurs also took turns “ascending to heaven” which meant they flew up to the table in her playroom. I also threw in a quick lesson on what descending means, you know… since they are opposites.

I wanted to mention a songsheet I found on SugarDoodle– It is great for older children and includes pictures of the first and third verses. I also found these sites to have some great ideas for teaching this song:
I would love to hear any other ideas you have for teaching your children the primary songs!
Happy Teaching!

Kinderbach Review

I have taken years of piano lessons. Eleven years, to be exact. My husband is an excellent pianist. You would think between the two of us, we would be able to handle teaching our bright three year old to play the piano. I taught her a few things… glissandos, octaves, middle c, fingering… you know, the basics. I wanted piano lessons to be fun, and at the time they were very short, sweet, and to the point. What I found that my approach to teaching her piano wasn’t as structured or captivating as I wanted. I started doing some research online about different teaching methods and came across KinderBach, a site dedicated to teaching piano lessons to young children. I immediately signed up for the emails and after only a few days I was hooked! I just had to learn more! And I did something that I have never done before… I approached Karri about reviewing her product. And she was kind enough to send me a free DVD and allow me the opportunity to share with you all about her incredible, educational piano program!!
When my daughter and I sat down to start our first Kinderbach piano lesson, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I knew beforehand that this would be geared towards young children, but I didn’t know how engaging a music lesson could actually be!

My daughter geared up for a KinderBach music lesson
What I love:

  • Teaches rhythm and basic counting practice. And while I knew my daughter could do this, I realized how FUN it was for her and I should allow her the opportunity to have fun with rhythm instruments.
  • Playing rhythm instruments with sheet music

  • Engaging…even for my overly active daughter. Our piano lessons using my slopped together technique lasted about 5 minutes. Now she can easily sit through a 20 minute lesson. And she loves it!
  • Now that’s captivation! Remember this girl is always on the go!!

  • This may sound crazy, but I love that I don’t have to spend time trying to create my own piano program. This is already done and it’s SO darling!
  • There are hands on activities while watching the lessons. One minute you are circling black keys on an activity page, the next you are tapping on rhythm instruments or locating keys on the piano. The activities are so varied that it holds my daughter’s attention span. The instruction comes with the activity pages divided into lessons, and even my daughter who doesn’t typically like coloring gets involved with these pages.
  • Listening to piano instructor Karri and determining if sounds are loud or quiet.
    Coloring her activity pages while watching the instructional DVD

  • As a classroom teacher, I always believed that the interest and excitement of the teacher played an important role in helping students to learn. Karri is an energetic, entertaining, knowledgeable teacher who makes it easy to learn! My daughter just LOVES her!
  • We can enjoy a piano lesson again and again… even in our jammies! I love that I can replay a section of the lesson that was thrilling for my daughter, or replay a section that she struggled with for extra practice.
    Our favorite activity so far… a creative approach to teaching the location of piano keys.

We finished the first lesson begging for more…so we watched it twice! And we just completed the second lesson and my daughter was laughing and having so much fun. And isn’t that what learning is all about at this age? I highly recommend this product to anyone who wants to teach their child how to play the piano! There is a free online trial… so throw your fears and intimidation of teaching your child how to play the piano aside and give this program a try! I am confident your preschooler will love it!
Happy piano TEACHing!

Spelling Songs

I wanted to title this post “Songs to Teach Your Child How to Spell Their Name” but besides the fact that it is pretty wordy, I realized you can use these songs to spell anything!How many of you know the words to the theme song of your child’s favorite TV show? Or all those catchy advertisement jingles? Music helps concepts to stick in our memory. Most of you are familiar with the effectiveness of using music to teach. The most well-known example of this is the alphabet song- a catchy way to teach our kids the ABCs (is it the most effective? well that’s another topic for another day!) I love the SchoolHouse Rock videos with tons of creative music for everything from adjectives to Wall Street and everything in between!
So of course it makes sense to use music to help us spell. Whether your child is needing some help with a spelling list or if your little one is learning to spell her name, these songs will hopefully help! Just replace the lyrics with the spelling of a word and you are good to go!

Three Letter Word Songs:

  • This Old Man
  • Jingle Bells
  • Three Blind Mice

Four Letter Word Songs:

  • Are You Sleeping
  • YMCA
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Five Letter Word Songs:

  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • You are My Sunshine
  • BINGO
  • Do as I’m Doing

Six Letter Word Songs:

  • This Old Man
  • Jingle Bells
  • Happy Birthday

Seven Letter Word Songs:

  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Skip to my Lou
  • Mary had a Little Lamb
  • If you Chance to Meet a Frown
  • 10 Little Indians

Eight Letter Word Songs:

  • For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow
  • We wish you a Merry Christmas
  • Fun to Do

Nine Letter Word Songs:

  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain
  • I’m a Little Teapot

Happy Spelling 🙂

For more information on this topic check out the following websites:
Mrs. Jones Sing Along Songs
Spelling Fun (Word Doc Created By A Teacher in Illinois)
The Teacher Terrace

20 Activities With Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk is one of those basic necessities for outdoor play….right along with bubbles and jump ropes! We spent the greater part of an afternoon writing and drawing with the chalk and inspired me to write this post! Here it is… 20 activities you can do with your child using sidewalk chalk!

  1. Practice writing letters and numbers. If you are teaching your child a letter or number a week, have them practice writing it outside! You can draw the “lined paper”, and write the letter or number using dotted lines for your child to trace. An older chid can practice writing their name and phone number, although you might not want that advertised on your driveway!
  2. Practice reading words and sentences. When teaching your little one to read, it is important to provide them with varied literacy experiences. Not only does this provide the practice needed to read, but it makes reading fun. It also shows your kiddo that reading is a skill you use all the time, not just in books.
  3. Hopscotch! This classic game can be drawn with sidewalk chalk. Not only is it fun, but it teaches children to count and recognize numbers.
  4. Giant number line- draw a big number line and let your kids hop to the numbers as they count, or use it to do simple addition and subtraction…. “Let’s solve 3+4. Stand on the 3. Now take 4 steps on the number line. What number are you standing on? 3+4=7!”
  5. 4 square- Another classic game- you can’t go wrong!
  6. Blue’s Clues- My daughter and I had a blast using the blue sidewalk chalk to draw paw prints on various items outside…. tree trunks, next to the mailbox, next to some leaves….. we kinda made this up as we were playing, but if you were to prepare in advance you could make this a great clue-solving activity! (if you haven’t seen the show Blue’s Clues, I apologize that this step doesn’t make sense!)
  7. Shape Hunt- draw various shapes on the driveway. Dance around until you call out a shape (circle, triangle, hexagon, and if you are an artist try the 3 dimensional shapes such as cube, pyramid, etc!) then everyone has to hurry and find one to stand on.
  8. Murals- Have fun letting the whole family draw a giant mural on your driveway! We have a little cement retaining wall that would also be the perfect place to showcase art!
  9. Body tracing- this could be a lot of fun- just be sure you don’t mind if your kiddo is covered in chalk! The child simply lays down on the cement while another child (or you) trace them! Then have fun coloring in the face, clothes, hair, etc!
  10. Shadow tracing- great science adaption idea…. go outside during various times of the day and trace your shadow while standing in the same spot (or the shadow of another object such as a can). Each time you trace the shadow, use a different color of sidewalk chalk. Talk with your kiddo about how the sun moves and causes our shadows to move as well!
  11. Little Love Notes- write love notes to Daddy to find when he comes home from work! Or choose another family member and while they are away (school, nap, play group, etc) cover the driveway in notes of appreciation, artwork and love!
  12. Line Tag- a classic game with a twist- you can draw your lines! And draw them any way you want- squiggly lines, straight lines, dead end lines….. try and make most of them connect though or the game won’t work too well!
  13. Sight Word Hunt- cover the driveway in sight words. Have your kiddo run around until you call out a word, and then your child has to find the word and stand on it!
  14. Maps- Tie in geography with your sidewalk chalk! Have your child draw a map of their backyard, neighborhood, city, county, state, or country. Make the map as detailed as you can! Little ones can do this too, but they might need some help from you!
  15. Car mats- If you don’t mind the little cars getting chalky, have your kids create their own car mat using sidewalk chalk. They can add streets, buildings, parks…. it is totally customizable! And it gets your kids playing outside!
  16. Opposite Rectangles- Draw a large rectangle. Divide the rectangle in half. In the first half of the rectangle, draw a happy face. Have your child draw the opposite (sad face) in the second half of the rectangle. Repeat this activity with more opposites!
  17. Analogy Rectangles- Similar to the game above, but divide the rectangle into fourths and use analogies instead. For example, ant:six legs as spider: _____. In the first section of the rectangle you would draw an ant, the second section would be six legs, the third section would be spider, and the fourth is where your child would draw the answer (which is 8 legs). Here is a link to more animal analogies.
  18. Draw a Nursery Rhyme- A great literacy experience is to have your child draw their favorite nursery rhyme! If your child is older, have them draw their favorite scene in a book they are reading instead.
  19. Addition Fun!- Math is a lot more fun when done on the driveway! Let your child try solving math problems outside!!
  20. Easy Fractions- Draw several shapes. Have your kiddo draw a line to cut the shapes in half/thirds/fourths/etc. Make sure you talk about fair shares (how each section should be the same size) when they are drawing the lines.
Hope this helps as we get our summer fun learning in gear! Happy Teaching!

Nativity Dice

Part of my church responsibilities include working with a great group of 8-10 year old girls. I thought it would be fun to teach them about the nativity, and originally was going to make a nativity ornament with them- when I thought it would be more fun (OK, easier and less messy) to make nativity dice with them!

The objective of this activity is to teach about the different characters of the nativity. I wanted to see the girls dive into their scriptures to learn more about who these people were. I also wanted a project that my girls could take home and do with their families. So this activity seemed perfect!

Materials:
6 images of different Nativity characters
foam cube (I saw these at Michaels for five dollars, but they are only a buck at the Dollar Tree!)
cardstock
glue sticks/ hot glue/ scissors

How to make the Nativity Dice:

  1. Trace one side of the foam cube on the cardstock. Cut out square and use this as a pattern to cut out 5 more squares. Hot glue cardstock on foam cube.
  2. Cut out nativity characters and glue one on each side of the foam cube.

That’s it! Unless you want to embellish. I kept mine simple.

How to play the Nativity Dice Game:

  1. Roll the dice.
  2. Name the character and describe the role they play in the nativity.
You may also want to do one of the following:
  • Research this person in the bible.
  • Share any connections you may have with this person.
  • Share any questions you may have for this person.

This is the perfect addition to our family’s nativity kit !

Happy Teaching!

Indoor Snow Fun

A few weeks ago, after a big snowstorm, I thought it would be fun to bring the snow indoors to play! I read somewhere out there in the blogosphere- I can’t remember where- about snow painting and I wanted to give it a whirl!

It was a different experience- painting on cold icy flakes. However, once the snow melted a bit we liked seeing the colors drizzle down the side of the rubbermaid.

We painted for about 10 minutes- which is great for my kiddo- and then dumped out the painted snow and got some fresh snow for the activity I knew she would LOVE- burying and unburying toy dinosaurs. I had to pull her away from this at dinner time. We used different small plastic spoons as little shovels to dig for the dinos. And the whole time my daughter made high pitch shrieks as the dinosaurs were crying for help. We had a lot of fun staying warm and playing in the snow!
Happy Teaching!

Easy Jingle Bell Tutu

I love Christmas! And nothing sounds like Christmas more than the jingling of bells. This year I had the idea to make my daughter a special Merry Christmas skirt to help her practice her dance moves (more on that another day) and spread the jingling sounds of this holiday season!
Here is the finished product. It was SO easy to make. And my daughter loves it- she runs around the living room in circles wearing this!
Step 1: Google “no sew tutu”. Find a site that has a cute tutu (I used this site and this site, but there are SO many great tutorials out there!)
Step 2: Go to the craft store and purchase rolls of green and red tulle. I used four rolls (2 red and 2 green) because I like my tutus nice and fluffy!

Step 3: Follow the steps to make the tutu- basically just stapling (for people like me that really want NO SEW!) or sewing the elastic in a waistband about 3 inches smaller than your child’s waist. After the elastic is ready, simply tie a series of knots until the skirt is as full as you like! (great site here for the basic steps in tying the tutu knots)
Step 4: Cut several ribbons twice the length of the skirt. Tie small jingle bells on to both ends. It may help to use a strong adhesive to ensure that the bell will stay on the ribbon. I just tied a double knot and it has been holding up fine. Then attach the jingle bell ribbons to various places throughout the skirt using the same knot as the tulle.
You could use this tutu for so many things- Christmas parties, family night dance performances, or just plain fun around the house!
Happy Teaching!
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