How to make a preschool learning board.

How to make a preschool learning board. jewelsintheroughblog.com Little Miss has officially left toddlerhood for the wonders of the preschool life! I LOVE teaching her! And I love creating fun methods of learning for her. Truth be told, sometimes I get so caught up in creating the fun activity that little time remains for preschool! This mama is learning balance. But that’s a whole other post.

I’m a very visual learner. Meaning I don’t see concepts in my head very well. My sweet husband could tell you all about it after rearranging the living room furniture six times. He loves his wife! Anyway, we all learn differently. Regardless of learning style, visuals are super helpful when teaching basic concepts to a preschooler. And I was lucky to find many of these visuals at our local dollar store. What is was unable to find there, I found and printed from the web.

So with all these great visuals came the challenge of keeping our home from looking like a preschool. Our spaces are pretty tiny here. So the addition of number and letter charts would really clutter up the visual spaces. My someday house will have a lovely room, bay window and all, devoted to school. Then our charts will have a permanent home, but for now I created a fold-up school board that contains some of the basics we are learning. Preschool Board jewelsintheroughblog.comI ordered the white board from Amazon. It’s called a project display board. The dimensions are 36″x48″. It’s pretty tall. We put it on the floor so Little Miss can reach everything. For durability, I used clear contact paper to cover the front of the board before attaching any of my visuals.

I attached the visuals using poster putty. They are very easy to change out based on our current theme. All my visual you see here have been laminated. Since Little Miss would be interacting with all of visuals, I wanted to make sure they would hold up. Maybe they will even survive through preschool with two more munchkins! Preschool Board jewelsintheroughblog.com I was able to use my little laminator to laminate almost everything. I did have to take my calendar and days of the week chart to a school supply store since they were too big to squeeze through my laminator. If you don’t have a school supply store local, you can take your visuals to an office supply store to have them laminated. Although, the office supply stores are generally more expensive. Preschool Board jewelsintheroughblog.com My calendar and my days of the week chart both came from Deals. Check your local dollar stores. I have found they are a great source for preschool goodies!

My little weather chart came from Confessions of a Homeschooler. She has tons of great preschool printables! Preschool Board jewelsintheroughblog.com We store our daily weather graphics in the “Weather Today” pocket. I just cut and stapled cardstock to make this. Maybe someday I will create something adorable. But for now, this works well! I attached it to the board using a Velcro dot. It is easily removable so Little Miss can dump out her weather graphics.

The hundreds chart I found on a simple google search. There are so many! Preschool Board jewelsintheroughblog.com We just started working through a “Letter of the Week” program. And we are incorporating a verse of the week for each letter. These printables can be found here over at 1plus1plus1euals1. These printable are based on the book by Susan Hunt. ABC Bible verses The maps and clock I found at various sites online. I printed and laminated them. Preschol Board jewelsintheroughblog.com When we look outside to discuss the weather, we also discuss the current season. This seasons chart came from Preschool Mom. She has some other fun season printables that we will soon be using too! Preschol Board jewelsintheroughblog.com My letter chart is also from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  It is part of the “Letter of the Week” program that we just started.

The color and shapes cards were purchased at Deals. If you don’t want to buy them, they would be easy to make! Just remember to laminate them so they survive your preschooler!

So there you have it! A great visual for teaching some basics in preschool. It takes very little time and very little money to create. I hope you will stay tuned to learn how we use these great visuals!

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Travel Busy Bags

Our family is planning a road trip for the near future! And let me tell ya, I have a love affair with being someplace I have never been! Always have. Probably always will. It’s in my DNA! Just last week my hubby drove us up some different streets in a quick detour while on our way to the zoo. My heart leapt at the new surroundings. Truth be told, our little detour was only to Wal-Mart. None-the-less, I was on a street I had never before driven….seeing new sights and new places. And I was happy!

I have photo albums full of grand memories from all the times we would jump in the car and go! Well, now with a husband and two littles, it’s not really possible to just jump in the car and go. Successful / happy road-trips require a bit of forethought and planning. And with a little planning they are just as fun! And on the flip side, the lack of planning usually results in a miserable car full of fussing and tears.

Our little family loads up several times a year to make the 4 hour trek to see family. So our babies were born road-tripping. We have had our share of good, bad, and ugly trips. Somewhere along the way we learned a few tricks to make the drive a bit smoother. But I will save that for another post. However, this upcoming trip is going to be a bit longer. We have 8 hours of car time rather than 4. So I decided to add a few things to my traveling bag of tricks to ensure we all have a happy trip.

Busy Bags…what a fantastic idea! Genius! This particular set of busy bags was designed for traveling. They are best used with a travel tray…which you can easily create for under $5! Some of these ideas for traveling busy bags are my own, but most are suggestions from fellow mommy friends or pinterest pins from my Kiddo Boards. You can check out my Kiddo Boards here.

First, get a few supplies and put together a travel tray for your little travel buddy.

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The cookie pan was one of my Dollar Store finds. I got the smallest one they had. It fit perfectly in Little Miss’ car seat. The parachute buckle and nylon strapping came from Wal-Mart.  Take a peek here and here for a closer look at these products.

First, I inserted the strapping through the buckle. Then measured to see exactly where I wanted to glue the strap. And finally pulled out the hot glue gun and glued away!

Travel Busy Bags

I decided that it would be best to glue the strap with the buckle on the side, since I will have to pull the strap underneath the car seat. Now when it’s not in use, we can easily reach the buckle to remove the tray. Much easier than having to stick my arm in that tiny space behind the car seat every time we need to remove the tray.

There are several benefits to using this tray. First, it has raised edges to contain toys. Yay for not having to pick up crayons every time daddy makes a sharp turn!!! Also, this tray is metal so all my magnetic activities will stick to it!

I really wanted to add some sort of cushion underneath. Maybe someday!

I hope Little Miss is as excited about this as I am!

Travel Busy Bags

Now for some busy bags!

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Little Miss just adores these little parachute buckles! So I bought a few extra while shopping for the lap tray.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

I printed the picture. If you make this, be sure to use card stock. It’s more durable. I also laminated it. Then just attached the ribbon to buckles and hot glued it all together!

This was a pinterest find! Who doesn’t love a nice cold popsicle in the summer? The sticks are removable so Little Miss can color coordinate the sticks and the popsicles. Great for working on colors and for fine tuning those fine motor skills!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

This bag has various art supplies, including a Chic-Fil-A creativity booklet! Score! We love some chicken and fries!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

These are removable stickers. You can find some real gems at the Dollar Store!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

One of our favorite things to do at home  is play in our pretend kitchen. Here is a tiny travel version of our kitchen. I found pictures of her favorite foods on Google Images. Printed and laminated. Then I attached little velcro circles. She can attach the food, beverages, and dessert to her place mat. I put magnets on the back of the place mat to hold it in place on her lap tray.

Why yes, that is Chic-Fil-A you see on her plate. Mmmm mmmm good!

You may have noticed that the place mat is bigger than the bag. Several of my travel busy bags have a full size printout. I find they store nicely on the lap tray and tucked safely in with the busy bags.

One of our favorite things to do at home  is play in our pretend kitchen. Here is a tiny travel version of our kitchen. I found pictures of her favorite foods on Google Images. Printed and laminated. She can attach the food, beverages, and dessert to her place mat. I put magnets on the back of the place mat to help hold it in place on her lap tray.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

This letter matching activity will also work well on her magnetic travel tray. We already had the magnetic letters in our stash. I originally found them at Deals for a buck! The alphabet sheet was created by intentionalmomma. Click here to visit her blog and print your own.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

Here is another of my pinterest discoveries. I’m not sure who is the original creator.

There are tutorials for this button snake all over! I cut my ribbon and sewed a button on each end. And then cut my colorful shapes from felt and made a slit down the center. This is another good activity for advancing fine motor skills in little ones.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

When Little Miss is not playing in her kitchen, she is going clickety clack around the track with Thomas the Tank Engine. So I printed off some of her favorite engines along with some landmarks from Sodor Island. Laminated these bad boys and attached a magnet on the back of each piece for some fun pretend play. Note: it is more cost-effective to use the magnetic tape than the cute little round magnets. The magnetic tape also has adhesive for attaching it. And I found the track pieces on the his4homeschooling blog. I enlarged it slightly since it was originally designed for a felt file folder game. You can check it out and print your own here.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

More fine motor practice with this felt chain. I used velcro circles for attaching. They come with their own adhesive too!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

Since Little Miss is really into pretend play right now, I created a few other pretend play bags. She already has a doctor kit in her toy collection. I added some grown-up medical items for added interest. I’m sure baby doll will be accompanying us on our journey. So she will probably be the recipient of the medical attention.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

This one is a dress up bag. Some of the items are hers. Again, I added some grow-up items to keep her interested. I emptied out and thoroughly cleaned an old plastic nail polish container. Found an empty plastic “perfume” bottle and fold up brush. Oh! And blush! Let me show you up close!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

It’s actually nail polish! Took almost a week for it to dry and harden. I think she will like it!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

More color matching! I put a dab of hot glue on the sides to keep the clothes pins from snapping apart.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

These are way more fun to squish than to create! Sticking play-doh in a balloon! Aye! I also put beans in one balloon and rice in the other for some variety in texture. And I double ballooned them for extra durability. I’m not sure how long these will occupy Little Miss. However, if the road trip gets a little stressful, I will have plenty of little stress balls on hand.

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

And lastly, here’s our mini-stacking blocks complete with velcro and everything!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

Well here it is. Packed and ready to go! I hope you found some of these ideas helpful for your next road trip!

Travel Busy Bags jewelsintheroughblog

Now to pack everything else!

 

 

Teaching Tots

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Little Miss has been showing interest in the alphabet for months now. Her favorite video to watch has been “Leap Frog’s Letter Factory.” In just a few short weeks she knew all of her letter sounds! She was only 19 months. I had no idea that tots were capable of learning the alphabet at such a young age! As a mom, I worry about providing my kids with the best opportunities for them to reach their full potential. So upon realizing Little Miss already knew all the upper-case letters along with their sounds, I knew I needed to step up my game. I took a little trip back into my “Headstart” days and began putting together some learning activities for her.

Note: I do not have any sort of education degree. I do, however, read books and educate myself on child development. So, I am by no means an expert in child education and development. And much of my knowledge has come from trial and error. Learning on the fly, that’s how I roll. But my love for teaching tots and my crazy crafting addiction make for some really fun learning activities. And I am very excited to open our home and share with you some of our fun learning times!

My “Tot School” activities are centered around the alphabet. This just seemed like a good way to keep it organized and to expose her to many different themes. Plus, I am such a “theme” person! It makes planning the activities more fun for momma!

So I will post each letter’s activities as we complete the letter. We are still working though the letter “A.” So stay tuned to see what fun there is with the letter A!