Friday, December 7, 2012

Mortimer's Christmas Manger

This week we are participating with over 25 other bloggers in a Nativity Blog Hop, sharing lots of fun activities and ideas to do with our children in our homes.  Please link up any child friendly posts at the end of this post that relate to the nativity story in any way.

The Imagination Tree

I shared Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman with our Mommy and Me class this week.

 It is a sweet story about a little mouse who finds a nativity set up in his house and wants the manger for his own bed.  He climbs the Christmas tree to reach the manger and moves all of the statues out so he can sleep in the manger. He doesn't understand the importance of the Baby Jesus.  But once he learns of Jesus and His role in saving mankind, Mortimer returns the manger to its rightful owner and prays to ask for a new home for himself.  The story ends sweetly, with Mortimer discovering an empty gingerbread house. 

Gathering Activity- Mouse in a Manger Craft

Materials Needed: brown for the mouse's body,white for ears, and black foam for eyes and pink nose,yellow strips of construction paper for hay, brown construction paper cut in the shape of a manger, glue, half sheet of construction paper

We gave each child the materials and allowed them to assemble the mouse in the manger with hay.

Art : Manger Scene Painting

This was a very simple activity, but lovely. 

Materials needed: blue paint, foam brushes, card stock, nativity die cut

Each child painted the entire sheet of paper blue.  I love using foam brushes with children this age.  They can manipulate the brush easily to cover the entire space.   After painting the paper, the children glued down a sihlouette diecut of a nativity. 

Snack: Christmas Tree and Strawberry Mice

In the story, Mortimer climbs up the tree to reach the nativity set. 

We made this fruit tree that inspired by one at  Good and Happy Day and served it with these cute strawberry mice, made from strawberries, licorice, and mini chocolate chips.

Activity: Explore Nativities

The children played with Christmas Nativity Sets while we played Christmas music in the background.  It was fun to watch them retell the story using the props. 

Here is the list of the other bloggers who are co-hosting the Nativity Blog Hop!  Please share your activities with us!  I can't wait to find new traditions for our family.  I hope you find some, too!

The Imagination Tree Living Montessori Now Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers My Nearest And Dearest Life At The Zoo Creative Connection for Kids This Reading Mama Adventures in Mommydom Train up A Child Rainy Day Mum 3 Dinosaurs Crafty Mom Share The Magic Of Play Sun Hats and Wellieboots The Fairy and The Frog Housing a Forest The Iowa Farmers Wife Mommy & Me Book Club Craft To Art The Golden Gleam Here Come The Girls Mamas Like Me In Lieu Of Preschool Kids Creative Chaos My Small Potatoes Love Play And Learn

If you join us, feel free to grab a button!

The Imagination Tree
<div align="center"><a href="" title="The Imagination Tree" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="The Imagination Tree" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pancakes for Breakfast

This month's featured author at the Virtual Book Club for Kids is Tomie dePaola.  

We chose to share the wordless book Pancakes for Breakfast with our Mommy and Me Book Club friends.

Gathering: Wheat Exploration Box
(Sensory exploration, fine motor skills, self help skills)

We created a sensory bin with whole wheat kernels and measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, and plastic eggs.  The children had a wonderful time scooping and pouring the wheat.  

It was such a simple box to put together, but something about the texture of the wheat was soothing.   It was also a really neat opportunity to teach that flour comes from wheat kernels. 

Circle Time
(pre-literacy skills, listening skills, rhyming, story retell, language development, counting backwards, one to one correspondence)



We read the wordless book Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola. The story shows through classic DePaola artwork the morning in the life of a woman who wants pancakes for breakfast.  Unfortunately she discovers she is missing most of the ingredients.  So she must gather eggs from her chickens, milk the cow and churn the cream into butter, go and get syrup from a neighbor.  When she returns from her last trip for ingredients and is ready to make the pancakes, finally, she finds that her pet dog and cat have broken the eggs and spilled the ingredients on the floor.  Discouraged, she is about to give up, until she smells something delicious coming from a neighbor's home....pancakes.  She invites herself there for breakfast. 

Fingerplay: We used 5 foam pancakes to help act out this fingerplay.

Five Crispy Pancakes
Five crispy pancakes in a frying pan,
Flip them and toss them and catch them if you can.
Along came (child's name)
For a pancake one day
Sprinkled with sugar and took it away.
Source: Youth Services Organization Program Page

Make Pumpkin Pancakes Together
(fine motor skills, self help skills, cooking, cooperation)


We had all of the ingredients ready to go to begin with. The kids helped pour and mix the ingredients for our pancakes and we had a mommy cook them for us. 

 When they were cool enough to eat,  they devoured them!

I can't really call this part a snack, none of us had to feed a lunch afterwards! One of our moms has a fantastic recipe, and I have included it here for you!  Seriously, the best pancake recipe ever!

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups Flour (or whole wheat or spelt flour)
3 Tbs. Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Ground Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Ginger
¼ to ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
½ tsp. Salt
1 ½ cups Milk
1 cup Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 Egg
2 Tbs. Grapeseed Oil
2 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Stir together dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients and mix just until moistened.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop about a 1/4 cup of batter (an ice cream scoop works great) onto a warm griddle (350 degrees).  When edges begin to set and bubbles pop in middle, flip pancakes and cook other side until done.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes about 16 pancakes.


Art-Squeeze Paint Art
(strengthening hand muscles, art exploration, process oriented project, literacy and real world connections, sensory development) 

We wanted to do an activity that replicated pouring syrup on pancakes.  We were inspired by this great  Squeeze Paint Dough project from Family Fun.  You can go here to get the recipe.  We found our bottles at Michael's craft store in the cake decorating department. 

We discovered something fun though, that is not included on the website. This works well as microwavable paint, too.  We tried it to see if it would dry enough to bring our projects home, and it worked!  It also created a pretty fun texture to explore.

The children enjoyed squeezing the paint and making fun designs.  Each was unique.

Activities- Pancake Races
(pretend play, fine motor, gross motor, balance, throwing, hand eye coordination, cooperation, sharing)

We cut out"pancakes" from foam to use to play several games.

1-We practiced flipping these with spatulas and small frying pans.
2- Also allowed them to try to carry them on the spatula while walking across the room.
3- Tried balancing the pancakes on their heads.  
4-Threw the pancakes into the pan from across the room.  
5-Played Hot Pancake (like hot potato).

This month we are spotlighting books by Tomie dePaola for our Yearlong Virtual Book Club for Kids!

Will you join us?

All you have to do is...

  1. Pick a Tomie dePaola book to read with your child!
  2. Do any activity, craft, cooking project, or other book inspired activity that goes along with the book your chose.
  3. Share what you did with us starting Monday, November 19th! We will have a linky up for 3 weeks where you can share any blog posts (if you are a blogger) or you can post what you did at the end of the linky post in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

I can't wait to see all of your fabulous ideas! Thanks for participating!

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.

You can also check out lots of fun ideas on some if the other participating blogs! 
Toddler Approved - Rainy Day Mum - Adventures in Reading with Kids - 3 Dinosaurs - Royal Baloo - The Educators' Spin On It - Inspiration Laboratories - Pleasantest Thing - Edventures with Kids - Two Big Two Little - Playing With Words 365 - Kitchen Counter Chronicles - Outlaw Mom - Mommy and Me Book Club - Crafty Moms Share - No Twiddle Twaddle - The Good Long Road - Ready. Set. Read 2 Me - Reading Confetti - Mama Smiles - Juggling with Kids- Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas - Creekside Learning - Creative Family Fun - The Usual Mayhem - Teach Preschool - PlayDrMom - CraftoArt - Here Come the Girls - Being a Conscious Parent - Smiling like Sunshine - Crayon Freckles - Train Up a Child - Smile Play Learn

Please only share activities inspired by Tomie dePaola books.  All other links will be deleted. 

Want to get a head start on December?  Our featured author next month is Jan Brett!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Run Turkey, Run!

Gathering Activity: Turkey Hats

We made these adorable turkey hats from Lindsay Blogs.  I love the way they turned out, and as you can tell, so did the kids!  Each hat was unique! You can follow the link to get full directions.   

Circle Time

We read Run, Turkey Run by Diane Mayr.  It is a fun story of a turkey who hides from the farmer on Thanksgiving Day.  After each new hiding place is discovered by the farmer, the children had a wonderful time shouting along with the book "RUN, TURKEY, RUN!"  He finally finds reprieve in a forest of pine trees, until the farmer and his family go to find a Christmas tree.  Of course, he gets away again. 

We also sang one of our favorite Thanksgiving songs, "Mr. Turkey. "

"Said, Mr. Turkey, I want to play. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.
But soon it will be Thanksgiving Day. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.
Folks all say that means great fun, but I think I'll run, run, run.
And hide until the day is done. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble."

Art Activities:

1-Popcorn Turkeys 

We were inspired by this fun idea for turkeys at Everything Preschool.   

Materials Needed:
Rubber Glove (Clear)
Small squares of Multicolored Tissue Paper
Googly Eyes


For 3 year olds, this is definitely a mom and child activity.  Using a clear rubber glove, the child stuffed the four fingers with colored tissue paper and stuffed the thumb with red, while the moms held open the gloves. 

Then the children filled the palm with popcorn while the moms held open the gloves.

Then Moms tied the bottom, like you would tie a balloon. 

Last step was to add an eye on each side.

We had children stuff turkeys in two different ways.  Some mixed all the colors together, and others kept each finger an individual color.  Both ways turned out cute.


2-Turkey Feathers in Playdough

Our next activity was a more open ended activity.  We were inspired by this activity at Teach Preschool.  We handed each of the children  ball of brown playdough and feathers to explore.  They knew just what to do!  

A few of you asked what we do with younger siblings.  Here is a great pic showing a little brother joining in our fun. 

Snack:  Apple Turkeys

The children loved making these adorable turkeys.  I made these my very first year teaching, and can't remember exactly where I got the idea from then, so many years ago.  But our children sure loved making and eating these! 
Games:Hide the Turkey Game

“Hide the turkey, hide the turkey,
in the trees, in the trees.
Don’t let farmer find him, don’t let farmer find him.
Hide turkey, hide turkey! “

Materials Needed: 4 boxes with a picture of a tree taped on and a toy turkey.

Directions: Choose one child to be the "hider."  Choose another to be the Farmer.  The farmer leaves the room. Sing the song. The "hider" places the turkey in one of the boxes. 

The farmer returns and searches in each box until she finds turkey.

Then all of the other children yell “RUN TURKEY RUN!”  The person holding the turkey runs around the room back to his spot. 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  I am grateful for you and for your support!  Thank you for reading about our adventures each week!