Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween + Quiet Bins


Here are the books we borrowed from the library. Our very favorites were Scooby Doo and the Haunted Halloween Party and Room on the Broom. Also included here is a chapter book from the Rainbow Magic series about fairies. Honey Pot and I have read about five from the series, and I picked up this Halloween Fairy one for her during our Halloween theme. These books are very cute, and perfect for her 5-year-old attention span and listening ability. We love them!

We read the picture books over and over during the last two weeks, in conjunction with our own Halloween books below. The kids each get one new book every year, so our collection is growing!

Quiet Bins

Both bins were themed this time, because we had so many fun ideas! Here is Little M&M, my little helper in putting them together.

And the contents of both bins:

Our Halloween felt board jack-o-lanterns:

Candy corn alphabet pages. I printed A-H, as these are the letters Little M&M has done so far in his preschool.

Wikki Stix. I printed two Halloween templates onto cardstock from the website.

Our laminated monsters. I wrote four numbers in dry-erase marker onto this before each use, and the kids added that number of googly eyes. Looks so cute. The idea comes from No Time for Flashcards, and we first used it during our Monster Theme in 2013.

Beading and making patterns in Halloween colors:

Homemade, pumpkin pie scented playdough with our tools and Halloween cutters:

A simple sticker game for each of the kids to review things for school. For Little M&M's, I used letters he has difficulty with, and for Honey Pot, I used a few sight words she has learned.

Drawing and writing prompts! I love these printables from Picklebums and CreKids!

Halloween Lunch

For Honey Pot's lunch on the day before Halloween, I made her juice box into a mummy, cutout her sandwich into a bat and pumpkin, and put a spider ring in her goldfish. There was also a yogurt pouch in there, but I couldn't think of anything cute to do with it in a hurry!

Family Game Night

We had a family game night on the night before Halloween, and included this fun Halloween Bingo that I printed from Pre-K Pages. The kids just LOVED it, and they each enjoy when it is their turn as caller.

And take a look at our previous Halloween themes!

Halloween 2014 (one of our favorites!)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pumpkins + Quiet Bins


Our theme for this week as we psych up for Halloween was pumpkins! Here are the books we borrowed from the library this week. Our favorites were Big Pumpkin and The Ugly Pumpkin.

Hammering Pumpkins

I had seen this activity on Pinterest so often. I thought it was time to give it a try. I bought each of the kids a small pumpkin, and set it out with rubber bands, golf tees and their play hammers. However, if my husband hadn't left his real hammer at work, we would have used that one. The kids enjoyed the challenge though, and we just ended up using a pen to make our initial holes before hammering the tees in.

The kids love their geoboard, so including rubber bands was a fun addition to this activity!

Sink or Float Science Experiment

I provided a bucket of water, as well as a large and small pumpkin. The kids each made a hypothesis about whether the small pumpkin would sink or float. 

Then I asked Little M&M to place it in the bucket. Well, he dropped it in there and splashed all of us! But the kids were pretty interested to see that it was floating!

Then we made predictions about the large pumpkin. I assisted Honey Pot it placing it in there, and they were amazed to see it floating too. We discussed what is inside of a pumpkin, and why this happens.

Pumpkin Soup Sensory Bin

It was such a beautiful fall day, so I came up with an idea for a sensory bin at the last minute. I filled two buckets with water (one with a pink color tablet from their bath, one with yellow) and dropped in some pumpkin candies leftover from their quiet bin activity. Then I grabbed some bowls and spoons from the kitchen and let them play to their heart's content. 

It had been a while since we'd done an activity like this, and they seemed to really get into it!


In addition to all the fun, it was also a nice review on color-mixing. As they scooped water and pumpkins from both bins, the water in each turned orange.

Quiet Bins

Here is our pumpkin-themed bin for this week:

- Our jack-o-lantern felt board
- Pattern blocks with a pumpkin template
- Homemade pumpkin-pie scented playdough, with tools with pumpkin cutters
- Pumpkin candies and toothpicks, to be used for constructing
- Magnetic bingo chips and a pumpkin dot marker template

And here is our non-themed bin for this week:

- Wooden blocks + a die, we take turns rolling the die and adding that number of blocks to our tower. The person with the tallest tower standing wins.
- An ice cream truck lacing card
- Our salt tray. For little M&M, I provided the letters A-E, which he has covered so far at preschool. For Honey Pot, I included all of the sight words she has learned so far in Kindergarten.
- Craft stick puzzles, using the free printable puzzles

And check out our previous pumpkin theme from 2012!

Or one of our super fun Halloween themes:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Apples + Quiet Bins


These are the books we borrowed to read throughout the week. Some nights during "quiet time" the kids opt to read books in addition to or instead of their bin activities. We're glad to add reading time! Their favorites from this group were Apple Trouble and Ten Red Apples, which I remember from our previous apple theme last fall. Super cute!

Quiet Bins

As I mentioned in previous posts, now that the kids are both in school part or full time, we've decided to keep our themes going but in a different, and more subtle way. We introduced quiet bins a few weeks ago and it has become something they really look forward to each night in the half hour before bed. Each child sits with either myself or my husband with one bin, and they switch bins and parents throughout the week.

This week's themed bin contained some apple activities:

- 2 pages of pattern sheets, using acrylic apples from the craft store
- An apple tree game. I filled the tree with lots of acrylic apples. The kids had to roll the die, write that number in the box, then "pick" that many apples off of the tree. 
- Q-tip painting. I admit it was ambitious to include a messy craft in our quiet time bins, but it worked out just fine. We just make sure the kids complete their quiet bins on a table or surface of some kind.
- Tear and glue apple craft. The kids had to tear pieces of solid or patterned red paper, and glue it onto their apple template.

And here was the alternate, non-themed bin for this week:

- Wikki Stix in our binder with templates
- Melissa and Doug reusable sticker pad
- Moon Dough kit
- Geoboard with idea cards

And take a look back at one of our previous apple themes, which contain so many fun crafts and activities!

A is for Apples 2014

Apples Unit 2012

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pirate Theme + Quiet Bins


These are the books we borrowed from the library this week. Our theme was PIRATES for a very special reason. On our way to our beach vacation we made a pit stop in Baltimore at Urban Pirates. If you are passing through that way, I highly recommend climbing aboard for one of their family adventure cruises. They dress you up like pirates (gift shop also available if you want to buy some supplies for your own dress-up collection) and then take you out on a one hour adventure through the inner harbor. They sing songs, play pirate games and even let you shoot water cannons at the "evil pirate" sailing by. At the end of the journey, once they've rescued the treasure, they are allowed to each pick two items from the treasure chest to keep. My kids had such an incredible experience, and we cannot wait to do it again sometime.

Quiet Bins

This was our second week implementing the quiet bin routine, and it is still going strong! Here is bin #1, which kept the pirate theme:

Inside was a book of pirate mazes, two Jake and the Neverland Pirate puzzles, two pages of Which One is Different (from Gift of Curiosity), placed in a plastic sheet and including a dry-erase crayon and eraser mitt, homemade playdoh and tools with playdoh mats (from CreKids) in plastic sheets, and a Race to the Treasure game (also from Gift of Curiosity) with a die and gold doubloons for game pieces.

In addition to the Fill the Treasure Chest playdoh mat shown above, the opposite side featured this pirate face page (also from CreKids).

And here is the non-themed quiet bin:

Inside it are our wikki stix binder, the geoboard with printed images for inspiration, a travel version of spin-art and a pom pom sorting activity with two types of tongs.

Did you miss our first post about quiet bins with a BEACH theme? Find that here!

Or, do you want to see our previous PIRATE theme from 2012? Check that out here!