Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas + Quiet Bins


Here are the books we borrowed from the library for a couple of weeks. We read them all many, many times but the kids' favorites here were Mooseltoe and A Pussycat's Christmas. The latter was a favorite last year too, so I was happy to be able to find it for them again. 

Quiet Bins

For holidays I like to keep both bins in theme. And, since it's a busy time of year, we kept these activities in here for a total of two weeks instead of one. Keep scrolling to see what was inside.

We have had so much success in the past with Dollar Tree foam and assorted loose parts. Remember the robots and pumpkins? So when I saw this game from Fun-A-Day I knew we had to have our own variation with the foam "trees" too! I included colored toothpicks, beads and jingle bells. I loved how they played with these. They were totally filled up! And one night Little M&M even filled his with toothpicks, then placed matching beads on each!

I included these tracing pages in plastic sheets with a dry erase marker.

This fun ornament file folder game, for pattern matching.

Blank paper, a Christmas stencil and coloring pencils.

A Christmas-colored pom pom transfer activity.

Assorted red and green paper strips and ribbons for cutting practice.

An uppercase/lowercase file folder game

A new batch of homemade playdough, scented with peppermint, with our tools and Christmas cookie cutters.

Tree Craft

One morning while Honey Pot was at school, I set up this paper strip tree craft for Little M&M. First he glued the green strips down in order from longest to shortest. When it was all finished, he used glue dots to adhere sequin "ornaments."

It came out super cute!

Christmas Slime

Every year at Christmastime we like to make up a batch of slime! It started two years ago during our Grinch theme, at which time we used green glitter glue. Then last year we made a peppermint-scented batch with red glitter glue. Unfortunately I couldn't find green or red this year, so the kids made purple slime instead. No matter! It's still fun and screams of Christmastime to us! First the kids helped empty out the glue bottles.

Then Honey Pot stirred it up with 1 1/2 cups of warm water.

In a separate bowl, Little M&M stirred 3/4 teaspoons of Borax with 1 1/3 cups of warm water.

Then we mixed the contents of both bowls together and dumped out the excess water to create our wonderful Christmas slime! It was stretchy...


And so much fun! The kids love hiding googly eyes inside and then looking for them again.

And making handprints.

Stretching it and pulling it... 

They love the challenge of forming bubbles inside it too so they could pop them! After a while, they asked if they could bring over some characters. I approved of some pups and the play went on like this for a long time!

Later as I was helping Little M&M in the next room, I came back to see Honey Pot had written me a message. How sweet is she!

Shower Painting

Another fun activity we did during these two weeks is shower painting! I had a ton of Dollar Tree shaving cream hanging around with my craft supplies. So I filled three cups and tinted two of them with red and green. Then I provided the kids with the cups and two paintbrushes in the shower. It's really so simple; I wasn't sure what to expect.

But they had so. much. fun!

Here is Honey Pot through the glass...

And a glimpse of Little M&M, who chose to use a paintbrush in one hand, while finger-painting with the other...

The laughter during this activity was tremendous. And ongoing. It was seriously the longest shower ever. I will definitely be offering this activity again, between themes. They had such a great time!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving + Quiet Bins


The top row contains the books from our home collection and the bottom row is, sadly, the best I could find at the library two weeks before Thanksgiving! I was pleasantly surprised with them though. Our favorite was The Little Engine That Could Saves the Thanksgiving Day Parade, since the original story is one of our favorites!

Quiet Bins

Both bins were themed this time, which I like to do for holidays. And we kept these filled for two weeks. The holidays are a pretty busy time, so we didn't sit down for quiet bins each night. But when we did, the kids really enjoyed them.

Here are their contents:

A Thanksgiving I-Spy in a page protector. The free printable came from Life Over C's. I must say Little M&M chose this as his first activity every time. He loved this one!

A pattern block turkey. Free printable from here!

A feather and a turkey baster. The object of this game is to blow the feather from one side of the room to the other, using just the baster. It was a real hit with both kids, and provided quite a challenge!

Thanksgiving coloring pages and crayons.

Cranberry transfer using tongs. Underneath each cup is a number, and that is how many cranberries they needed to place in each.

Turkey Feather Math. This was a free printable too! Obviously this was placed in the bins for Honey Pot, and she really loved this activity! But Little M&M was happy to give it a try too, and is learning how to count on his fingers.

Coloring pencils with Thanksgiving drawing prompts from CreKid, where I've been finding so many wonderful prompts!

Pumpkin pie scented playdough, dough tools and accessories. I also provided them with one of our laminated playdough mats. On one side it says "Put some Thanksgiving food onto your plate!"

On the other side of the mat it says "Give the turkey some feathers."

Beans Sensory Bin + Literacy Review. This was the absolute favorite activity for both kids! I bought three types of beans from the Dollar Tree, and mixed them together in what might be my favorite sensory bin yet. What fun it was to sift through this! For Honey Pot, I hid letters (from a board game called Upwords) inside that would spell out her sight words from Kindergarten. 

For Little M&M, I hid letters inside that he has learned so far in preschool. They did this activity again and again, sometimes for the entire half hour allotted for quiet bins!

On Thanksgiving day, I brought out the I-Spy game for my kids and other young members of the family that came to join us. In addition, I provided this turkey maze and a dry erase marker. It was a huge hit for all ages!

We also completed our annual Thankful tree, but I forgot to photograph it!

If you want to look back at our previous Thanksgiving themes, click on the links below!

Thanksgiving 2012
Thanksgiving 2013
Thanksgiving 2014

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pies + Quiet Bins


We borrowed these books from the library this week. Little M&M's absolute favorite was Apple Pie ABC, and he even requested reading it in the middle of quiet bin activities. Honey Pot and I enjoyed Ugly Pie too!

Quiet Bins

We usually just play with our quiet bins on weekday evenings. The kids enjoyed this week's bins so much though, that they asked to pull them out again mid-morning on Saturday! Here is our pie-themed bin:

The activities inside:

Pie fraction puzzles. This was such a great introduction to fractions! I got the idea from Pieces by Polly.

Magnetic Sensory Pie. I provided them with containers of "ingredients" and an aluminum pie pan so they could prepare a magnetic pie. They could explore with the magnets as they pleased, and enjoyed "stirring" the pie from underneath!

 Using tongs to add "whipped cream" to the pumpkin pie. This printable comes from Homeschool Creations.

Playdoh Pies. I provided our homemade pumpkin pie scented playdoh, mini pie pans and some playdoh tools. Later we even added other things from our playdoh collection like cutters and beads, so they could really enhance the appearance of their pies!

This is a worksheet that I created. The idea is for them to follow the "recipe" for each type of pie. By placing the page in a plastic sheet, I also had a handy place to attach my pipe cleaner. They both really loved this! Honey Pot would even continue the patterns beyond what the recipes called for!

(And here is one for you!)

Here is our non-themed bin for the week:

And the activities inside:

Our salt tray, with all of the letters Little M&M has learned in preschool as well as all of the sight words Honey Pot has covered in Kindergarten.

Assorted stickers and scrap paper:

Clothespins to attach to the rim of a cup:

Melissa and Doug Water Wow alphabet. We LOVE Water Wows for in the car, restaurants, hotel rooms, etc. We have a few sets and I especially love this one for alphabet review!

A stack of cups, for building towers and castles. This was another huge hit, and I was amazed at some of the creations they came up with.

Baking a Pie

At the end of the week we baked a pie together as a family. We chose a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction called Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie. My little helpers participated in each stage of the baking:

And even helped one another out:

Here is the final product:

And it received rave reviews from each member of the family. What a delicious way to eat pumpkin pie! We'll be preparing it again for our Thanksgiving guests. Mmm.