Looking for Fall

Grab your camera and off we go!

A new season is starting to sneak up on us... you can almost see signs of Fall.  Even down here in the South too! 

Off to the FARM - Tot school 35 months

The farm has been a focus on many tot school weeks.  Although I as a parent, may tire of doing the same thing over and over again, my toddler has specifically requested to spend the week learning about the farm.  Repetition at this age is SO beneficial and SO again, we are off to the farm!

Monday - Music Focus
Ok, so we all know the classic "Down on Grandpa's Farm" and "Old MacDonald" songs to sing with our littles, but if you haven't experienced Laurie Berkner's "I know a chicken" song, then you are missing out!  Kids shake their "shaky eggs" (store bought or home-made) with the song and ECHO sing (or read) the words to the song. This catchy tune is SO silly, fun to sing, and great for teaching shaking to the beat!

You can write the words to the chorus out and point to them as you sing them.  This will develop early reading skills! 

"I know a chicken and she laid an egg. Oh, I know a chicken and she laid an egg.  Oh my goodness.  It was a shaky egg!  Shake your eggs."

Tuesday - Science Experiments
I am sure there are a lot of great experiments out there.  Honestly, it is fall planting season here and we went outside and planted lettuce, carrots, kale, peas, pok choy, and beets.  We talked about what all living things need and my son helped to water the seeds after we planted them. 

Wednesday - Math
We are focusing on More Than and Less Than.  This is a hard concept and we have been using the pictures from our kids books and talking about how many of one animal is on the page and if there is MORE cows than chickens or LESS, all depending on the picture.  Of course we don't do this with EVERY book we read, but have tried to focus on this concept all week with our books.  (We have a million farm books - but here are a few Amazon links to some if you are still building your home library!  Both my kids just ADORE "Have you got my purr?")

Thursday - Art Exploration
These are called CRAFTS and not art or some would describe it as "product" art - meaning all kids products look very similar.  Lacking in creativity, but focusing on following directions.  Guess this week was more "crafty" than arty.  The funny thing is that my son chose to learn about the farm and when we went to story-time at the local teacher store - she read Farm books, did a dot cow painting and made paper bag cow puppets.  Then, when I crashed a friends playdate (she did invite me to join her AMAZING group of mom friends and kids) they were talking about ducks.  Don't you love when weeks just come together!!!!  In my opinion, it is important to do some of both kinds of art.  Next week, I will focus on more open ended creative projects!

Friday - Field Trip
If you don't live on a farm, then now is a great time to stop at a farm!  Many farms open their doors to visitors during the fall season.  Check your newspaper or local online listings to see if there are any available in your area.  For some reason, tots just connect with farm books and animals, but NOTHING compares to actually seeing them, hearing them, smelling them, and feeding them in person!

Last, but not least, many of us have this WONDERFUL toy!  This is the week to bring it out of it's hiding spot in the back of the cupboards (if you are not playing with it already) and set it out on the coffee table.  Kids need opportunities to PLAY and pretend.  This toy encourages this.  It is ok to model and play with your kids, but also give them time on their own to play.  Sometimes just changing where you have the toy makes all the difference in your child's interest. 
Hope you have a delightful learning week!  Enjoy your tots!!!!

40 Activities for Fall

40+ Fall Activities from The Educators' Spin On It

Fall is here!  We've collected some of our favorite Apple, Acorn, Leaf, Pumpkin, Owl and Turkey Activities on The Educators' Spin On It just for you to do this fall with your family. Check out our 40 Fall Activities for crafts, recipes, learning and family fun! 

Using Wordle for Spelling Homework: After School Express

Have you tried WordleIt's really neat!  It made me start to think how we could use it at our house for After School. After exploring in on my own I soon realized as an adult how cool this was.  So I wanted to see how we could utilize it for an After School literacy activity. We found a perfect way!  


Happy First Day of Fall!

Fall Books and Activities featuring Lois Ehlert

Happy First Day of Fall!  Are you looking for a few fun fall books?  Here are some adorable Fall Books by Lois Ehlert that are a big hit in our house.  Plus there are few activities and snack ideas for you for each book when you check out our  Lois Ehlert Virtual Book Club for Kids!

Disclosure this post contains affiliate links to amazon.  

Lois Ehlert Author Study {Virtual Book Club for Kids}

Lois Ehlert has been selected as our Author this month for the Virtual Book Club for Kids. She has a magical touch to the illustrations she creates in each of her books. The brightness of color and the simplicity of her images draw in children and adults alike into her colorful world. You could spend an entire year in her books and read about every season of childhood from Fall, Winter and Spring and Summer and everything in between.

Image Souce
During our Virtual Book Clubs at The Educators' Spin On It, we like to get to know the other a little bit better in person. I truly think it helps our children connect to the author and also inspires our children to read more and even write more to become their own authors. Here is an interview with Lois Ehlert in person on itunes, hosted by Reading Rockets for free. It can be a little lengthly for younger children but even it you watch just a little bit, it will connect your children to Lois Ehlert and see into her world. The second video clip is more of a visual report of her life and how her career and an author and illustrator began. 
Resources for Interviews with Lois Ehlert

I think from listening to her talk and answer some great questions about what inspires her it makes me realize how important it is to give our children time to create. Here are some simple tips to foster a love of art.
 Tips for Fostering Creativity with Art with your Child
  • Keep a tray out for them to keep art projects to be worked on continuously
  • Keep a special spot in your home to display their art pieces
  • Keep on hand simple supplies needed for collages such as paper, magazines, glue, scissors, and odd pieces you collect
  • Create a place for mess that is easy to clean up
  • Allow your child to see you creating  
  • Art supplies make a great birthday gift or holiday gift
We were inspired to use paint and objects to bring butterflies and flowers for our project.  Come check it out! 

What will you be inspired to create today?
Image Soure: Mayo's Masterpiece
Now It's your turn to share with us what you can create!  Read a Lois Ehlert Book and be inspired to create your own activities to go with your selected book!  Join our Virtual Book Club for Kids.   Please add your links to any Lois Ehlert inspired posts to the blog hop linky below.

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Lois Ehlert that share children's book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you'd like.
Participating Blogs

Making an Alligator Purse, a Beginning Sewing Lesson!

sewing crafts for kids

Alligator Purse Learn To Sew Activity:

Sewing is a great learning activity for parents to do with their children that combines fine motor skills, life skills, and creativity.  In this activity, grade schoolers will sew their own Alligator Purse to go along with the story, "The Lady with the Alligator Purse."

Waiting For Wings {Lois Ehlert Virtual Book Club}

We've been waiting for  Wings! Yes I really mean it each day as we walk out the door we're waiting on wings, butterfly wings that it. We found a very simple flower to grow that attracts butterflies, the Zinnia.  There are many other plants too that attract butterflies. 

We had the chance to raise our own caterpillars this summer and watch them become monarch butterflies. It's an experience that every child should watch!  Amanda will share this month her tips for raising caterpillars and attracting Monarch butterflies to your yard.   

One of my daughter's most favorite things to do right now is search for butterflies on our walks outside.  This is one of my favorite stories about caterpillars and butterflies by Lois Ehlert for you children.  As you read it the butterflies and flowers seem to pop right out of the page and into your imagination.  We had so much fun reading this story for the Virtual Book Club for Kids and creating our own butterfly art. 
As every page was turned my 1 year old tickled with delight as she found the caterpillars and butterflies.  I love how at the end she also included background information for older children to learn the science behind many of her books.  Planting a Rainbow and Growing Vegetable Soup are good examples of this too. 

Butterfly and Flower Prints.  Here's a fun flower and butterfly craft to paint at home with any age group.  We gathered some recycled items to make the prints. 

Materials Needed
white paper
many colors of paint
bubble wrap
smaller plastic container
toilet paper rolls
pencil tip

Once you gather your recycled pieces it's time to create!  Encourage your child to create the flowers for the butterflies to come and get nectar from to eat.  As my one year old says... "butterflies eat" as they land on the flowers.  Then it's time to get another sheet of paper.
Butterfly Resist Painting.  We call this our magical butterfly painting.Your child will love it! Plus it's nice to recycled what you already used for the above project.
Materials needed
many colors of paint
bubble wrap
tubes or rolls
pencil tip

Place tape or glue stick lightly onto the back of the butterfly and have your child them wherever they want to on the paper.  Then use the paint to create prints all over the paper.  Once it's dry have your magicial butterfly moment and peel off the butterflies.  We then added the face together for fun.  I loved the giggles that came from my daughter when she was suprised. 
Here's our special Zinnia's in our yard that attract butterflies.  For you own special Zinnia Seeds and Butterfly Love Books Printables sent from The Educators' Spin On It, enter for your chance to win below!  Now's let get to the fun part... The Virtual Book Club.

For more updates and to see loads of the posts by participating bloggers, head on over and "Like" our Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook page. Participants will get the chance to be on our Virtual Book Club for Kids Pinterest Board too.

Check Back! All month long we'll be sharing our own Lois Ehlert Books and Activities. PLUS Amanda will be sharing TIPS on Butterflies & ! 

Alligator Fun: After School Express

What a fun way to end Alligator week with a big win for the Gators last night!  Confession time... we are a Gator Family.  Since football season has started we had some fun this week in After School Express &  Tot School with Alligators.
We found that a great afterschool activity is going to the library.  We just pack a snack to eat on the way there and then I have two happy girls reading books and finding new ones to check out for the week.  This week we found a few that were about alligators.  We made a point to check out both Non Fiction and Fiction and talked about the differences. 
We looked through some old photos from our trips to the local zoo and parks and found these two pictures to write a story about.  We used them as story prompts.  Photos can make great inspirations for young writers.  The story they write can also be non fiction of fiction.  It's fun to see the where their imagination takes them. 
One afternoon we decided to create alligator scales with bubbleprint.  Both of the girls had a lot of fun doing it and singing alligator songs together.  Singing songs on a chart is a great way to learn to read!  Here's a printable of the Alligator Song we created together. I love when siblings can do things together afterschool and both be learning at different levels.   

We made these really fun gator handprints into T-shirts for this season but you could easily just do them as a craft project afterschool. Grab some green and black paint and have some fun. We cut out and added the fabric letters UF and sewed them on for a project too.  I had my daughter decide where she wanted them to go.  Then she added the orange and blue dots.  She called it a necklace. 

 Additional Resources for Alligator Fun
 Using Technology as an After School Resource  
As our children get older and enter school I do believe that there is a time a place for technology and that it plays an important role in education.  At times we simple cannot take them to physically see the things we're talking about so it's important to give them at least the chance to watch someone involved with a topic.  The Kratts Brothers have been around since my son was little, he's 19 now, and are a fun and educational resource for teaching children about animals.  Here's a little clip about Alligators.  For more info you can follow our amazon affiliate link for their products available.  Zoboomafoo was my son's favorite and Wild Kratts is my daughter's favorites.    

Sometimes we we want a little entertainment at our house instead of just turning on the television to watch whatever is on I plan ahead for my daughter to watch a few things that we're learning about that are entertaining.  Here's is a little clip from Charlie and Lola that is absolutely precious in her alligator costume.  The title is
Charlie and Lola, Vol. 5 - But I Am an Alligator

We are one of the hosts of the Virtual Book Club for Kids.  Here is Mercer Mayer himself reading the story There's an Alligator under My Bed.  I love watching authors read the story that they have written and how they bring them to life!  This one in particular reminds me of those anxious feelings we all had as children as we went to bed along in our rooms and has a playful way about it.   

Hope you have lots of fun as you create these alligator projects and activities with your children!  Here's a fun little picture from one of our trips to the Nature trail near us where the alligators really live!  How many alligators can you see behind me? Stayed tuned for Amanda's post about Sewing an Alligator Purse on Tuesday! {It's Here} 

My favorite linkup from last week's After School
Cohosted by:
We would love to have you link up your School-Age Posts about your learning week including, crafts, activities, playtime and adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives After School! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our afterschool button to link on your site!!! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or feature on our afterschool party next week!

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