4/14/14

Bunny Headband

With Easter right around the corner- I am excited to share the cute crafts and activities that Funshine Express has included in their monthly curriculum kit.

I love the varied crafts- they are adorable. I also love as I read the monthly curriculum guide they suggest simple prompts to get these little ones talking and connecting to the theme and topic for the day. When we were making these headbands, I remember Funshine Express suggesting to have them touch the fluffy tail we were adding to our headband. (it was really soft and furry). Having a real bunny would have been the best activity- but second best was touching this fluffy tail and talk about bunnies and their fur.

 
These headbands were a big hit!
 
Last week was Spring Break in our area- and as luck would have it- I sprained my back!
The full week I was out of commission!
I texted my parents last Friday- warning that we might not have preschool THIS week while I recovered. If I had to do a lot of prep and leg work- we would not have had preschool today.
But I woke up.
Felt like I could handle the few hours.
 
Just another day- I was so grateful to have Funshine Express monthly curriculum.

4/11/14

Letter Activities


Another element of my Funshine Express monthly curriculum kit- are the monthly letters cards.
There are lots of creative ways to use these cards.
I've shared this game with the alligator before... we sit around in a circle and chant...

Alligator, alligator
down my the lake....
(name a child) is going to reach in and
see what you ate!

Then the child named, reaches in and pulls out one of the little picture cards. They then place the card next to the letter it matches.

Last month we started a new activity with these letter cards. I bought some magnetic letters from the dollar store.

At this station, little ones can pick a picture and match the letters to spell the object.

I love how versatile the supplies are in Funshine Express' curriculum kit! There is no limit to the activities you can create around these sturdy and durable supplies! I can use them over and over again for countless activities.

4/7/14

Creative Arts

This week we are enjoying Spring Break- so no preschool. But I thought I would share some of my favorite elements contained in  Funshine Express Monthly curriculum . Every month my Funshine Express curriculum guide suggests a handful of unconventional creative art projects.

I don't know why I love it so much.
I guess because I am creative.
I guess I love the endless possibilities.

This particular art project- Funshine supplied foil.
Most of the kids created abstract pictures and used the foil sporadically. One little guy in my class was very thoughtful! He used the foil for his dragons eye and teeth!
So cool!

4/4/14

tip-toe through the tulips

Today we were talking about the color yellow.
I usually try to make play-dough the week I introduce the new color.
I dye the play-dough the new color for the month. We can play with it for a few days..

Funshine Express always has a cute color page to go along with the color of the month.

Today's worksheet instructed the kids to color the tulips and chick a different shade of yellow.

The craft kit I selected to use today- was actually one I didn't use back in September.

It was a craft to make a card for your grandparents.
The yellow "cups" are from  a previous kit. They were suppose to be "pots of gold" at the end of rainbows... but the kids didn't use them.

So I decided to combine the two- so the kids could make collages.
Combining the yellow flower and cup- makes a pretty cute tulip!
I truly love how versatile the Funshine Express curriculum and craft kits are. I especially love how- I don't have to run around town- collecting supplies for cute crafts and projects!

3/31/14

MONDAY- ugh

Normally I love Mondays.
I wake up- happy for a new week.
Today was no exception.

I woke up happy.
Made lunches for my four boys.
Cooked an egg sandwich for my oldest.
re-heated French toast for the other boys. (we had French toast yesterday.)
Packed lunches...
Ironed a shirt for my hubby...
drove junior high son off to school...

I was ahead of the game! While the elementary school kids dug into the French toast- I was motivated to quickly "clean out" (toss out the moldy stuff.) the refrigerator and started to sweep our eternally crumbly kitchen floor.... life was good.

I felt so productive!
---
Then my second grader mumbles with his mouth full, "Mom.. isn't my Animal Report due today?"

MY HEART DROPPED- mid sweep~.
UGH... yes it is!

I have learned the value of having extra poster-boards handy.
So with 10 minutes...
It was all hands on deck!

I am so proud of my 11 year old and 8 year old. They quickly jumped into action!
My 11 year old- quickly volunteered to "take care of preschool". He ran downstairs to set up our preschool space.

My 8 year old and I quickly printed off the facts he had been collecting.
We drew a HUGE Japanese Spider Crab on our poster board. (Their bodies are 15 inches wide!)
We took yarn and measured out 12 feet worth... to represent the crab's legs....
cut- and pasted the facts to the poster... and called it good!

By this time, my 11 year old was back upstairs and he said- "Mom, I can entertain the preschool kids for you, while you get your lesson together."

And- ya know what?- preschool lesson wasn't even a concern!
I mean, normally I like to prepare, gather my supplies, read over the plan for today.

But today- when we were in a rush- I wasn't panicked.
I knew... whatever Funshine Express had planned...would be great.
My craft supplies would be all included- if NOT they would be easy to get from around the house.
WHAT A LIFE SAVER!
Today I was truly THANKING MY STARS I have my Funshine Express monthly curriculum kit and lesson plans.

We did a really cute April Fools Day joke/craft- suggested by Funshine Express.

 

Color on white paper with white crayons. I had each child make 4 different drawings. (I wrote their names on the side- their picture was on... because it is really hard to identify that there is a picture drawn on the paper!)

I told the kids, "Tomorrow hand one of these papers to your mom, or dad, or big brother, etc.. and tell them this is your best drawing ever!"  (naturally they will think it is just a blank piece of paper) When you paint over it... the drawing appears!




I let the children paint two (of their 4) drawings. So they could practice and see the joke themselves.

Whew! Such a life saver today- I can't say it enough! Bad mommy moment - averted, thanks to my Funshine Express monthly curriculum kit!

Laura

(Disclaimer: This year I contacted Funshine Express and asked to blog about their amazing curriculum. I have used/paid their program for years and LOVE it! My kids are grown, we moved (from Hawaii to Utah). As you can imagine- it was expensive to move so not much made the move.  I thought I was done teaching preschool... so I sold/gave away all my preschool things, along with all my children's toys they out-grew etc.  So we set up life in Utah, having to re-buy much of our household items. I tried to get different jobs to fill my days- and realized I miss this age group! So I decided to teach preschool again. But starting over is pricey- and this time I didn't have the benefit of having TONS of toys already... I had to start from scratch! So I was trying to think how I could cut some costs... and I thought free curriculum would help out a lot! So that is the long story.)

3/28/14

Dr. Seuss' inspired day

March 2nd was Dr Seuss' birthday-- did you know?
Funshine Express planned in their monthly curriculum guide to celebrate his birthday.

They had a really cute day planned- different activities relating to different books.
(I think I had a sick day- that day- because we completely skipped this day in our preschool! Horrible!)

How I even noticed I had missed a fun day-- was I found an extra craft kit in my monthly curriculum box.. and went back to see what we had missed.


Here are the supplies to make Trufflula trees from the book The Lorax.
Really- these pom poms could represent trees in any of Dr. Seuss' books. Horton hears a Who.. I am thinking of specifically.
 
The straws were a tad hard to glue on- so we just drew the trunks of trees.
Then I modified the craft...by letting the kids make finger-print creatures.
(I have these silly eyes with eyelashes... the kids added.)
 
I thought these all turned out amazing!
Any one of these pictures could be an illustration out of a Dr. Seuss book!
 
Some other Seuss inspired activities were:
Cat in the Hat Balancing Act.
and
Seussical Counting
 
It was a really cute day.
 

3/26/14

Cutting Activity

It is the end of the month- and I chose NOT to do one of the provided themes by my  Funshine Express monthly curriculum kit.

I really liked the first theme:Lion & Lamb/weather, and St. Patrick's day crafts. The second theme provided this month  was Ocean Adventure. The activities and crafts are adorable for this theme but- I decided to post-pone. (It is just so cold here! I want it to warm up a bit more before we go on our "Ocean Adventure".)

Thankfully- Funshine Express' monthly curriculum guide is always packed with a variety of activities to keep my preschoolers busy- even when I omit one theme!

One of the activities they suggested- was Is this Healthy?
First we cut out newspaper images of "food".
This lead to interesting discussions- what can you eat?

I am serious! These little ones are hilarious!
We decided you can put a lot of things in your mouth.(...they wanted to cut out buttons, bolts, etc.).. but that is not "food".
And there are plenty of things we EAT... (marshmallows, candy bars).. but that aren't necessarily good for us.

This was a great activity!
 
They each divided a piece of paper in half. One side we put a smile face and the other side a frown face. Each child got to pick their favorite foods to add to their papers.

3/24/14

Wiggle Activities

There is one part of our preschool day- my kids LOVE.
Wiggle Time

I think it is so important- to get wiggles out- especially if you expect little ones to sit still for any length of time.

My Preschool Day routine- goes as follows:

Writing time
Craft (this gives plenty of time for paint and glue to dry)
Wiggle Time
Circle Time
Stations
Snack
Story time

If we do our wiggle time outside- I switch things up a bit. We are ready for drinks of water after a good workout, so I have them sit again at the table and pass out snacks then.

In Funshine Express Monthly Curriculum Guide they  include daily activities they call "Movers and
Shakers"


 
 

These activities often require things you have around the house- if that.
Sometimes you don't need anything-- just active bodies- lol.
I love- love- love these ideas!
It is so nice to have a new game, stretch, or activity to do with the little ones every day!

3/19/14

Seasons Activity

This month, we have been talking about weather and seasons.
Funshine Express suggested a great activity- and simple to throw together relating to this theme.



For this activity- walk around and gather items that you use during different seasons.
Funshine suggested having four different boxes... letting the kids explore the boxes and then guess the seasons.

I thought this would be a fun group activity (plus, it bothered me that I didn't have four identical boxes... is that OCD?) lol

So I gathered objects and then let the kids, take turns picking an item and then placing it with the correct season.



It was really fun- and the kids enjoyed talking about the seasons and activities we do in each season.

3/17/14

St. Patricks Day



Today we talked about the different symbols that relate to St. Patrick's day. Funshine Express supplied the craft in their monthly curriculum kit- things for this collage.
Each child used the elements to create different and unique pictures.


It was a really cute day. Everyone dressed in green. One family has a tradition where they go on a walk looking for the leprechaun's rainbow. I thought that was a cute idea. We didn't do that today- it was so windy!

3/14/14

Rhombus Kite

Such a great craft- on such a windy/blustery day!
 

This month we are learning about the shape: Rhombus. How clever to use this shape to make kites. Our kite kits came from FunshineExpress.com We are continuing to talk about weather.
It is so fun to live in a region that has all the season! March really has been filled with extremes. One day windy/stormy/blustery.... even snow, the next day so mild and warm.

3/12/14

Weather : In like a Lion out with a Lamb

This month, one of our themes is Weather. Funshine Express suggested introducing the old saying, "March comes in like a Lion and out like a lamb".  We have been having wacky weather here! Yesterday it snowed in the morning- then the sun came out, melted all the snow and felt like a great spring day!

What a perfect theme! We made this cute craft Funshine Express provided. (One side is a lion... and the other... you get the idea.) It was a cute craft.


And then- a game that I modified from Funshine Express... we played again. Except not with partners this time.


I love how simple the ideas and suggestions Funshine Express offers in their monthly curriculum guide. They are so clever and fun. I love that often - they suggest ideas with common things I have around the house! It is easy to add and introduce new elements into our preschool day.

3/10/14

Raindrop Game

 
We had so much fun with that heart- puzzle- matching game Funshine Express suggested last month,
I made a similar game- with the shapes being raindrops.
 

Also- we made Weather Gauges (everything provided by Funshine Express Monthly Curriculum). The kids were excited- because we have something like in our weather station center.

3/7/14

Weather Theme: Clouds

We have been talking about weather - and specifically the water cycle.
(*It might be a bit complex for the gang- but we did some large movement activities to understand it.)
Here is a great diagram from the U.S Gov 
I simplified it a-lot.
 
It's one thing to "talk" about it. Another- to actually see-it-happen!
 
I know I usually share a craft that Funshine Express supplied in their monthly curriculum kit- but today, I was so impressed with their simple-fun Science suggestion!

Create a cloud in a jar.
How cool is that? It is hard to see... but this really works! (Hot water in the jar-- trapping the steam by having ice on top.)

 
 
We painted also- with cotton balls... clouds.
But by far... the science experiment stole the show today!
 
 
 
Here is a good image- from Enchanted learning website-
 
*I just focused on the idea of : Evaporation- Condensation- precipitation (rain/snow) Accumulation.
We started sitting- with our arms out... pretending we were water in the ocean.
Then we evaporated... (standing up)
then we  "condensed" (got close together)
then we rained or represented Precipiation... by wiggling our fingers as we "rained" and we sat down.

I am always amazed at how brilliant and smart these little ones are!
Will they remember the words? maybe not... but do they understand the concept- YOU BET!

3/6/14

Forgot to POST!

I forgot to post about this really cute, fun activity Funshine Express suggested playing last month. This literally was a crowd pleaser! They wanted to play this again , and again, and again... etc..

I cut big heart shapes out- and then cut them in half... using unique design. (zig-zag, wavy, etc.)
I then separated the sides on either side of our preschool room.
I had one person pick one 1/2 heart.... their partner had to look and then find the match!

You can bet- I am going to use this idea/game again!
Since we are talking about weather this month.. maybe I will cut out "cloud" shapes, or "raindrops". Such a fun, creative, easy idea!

2/28/14

Finishing up :Opposite Theme

 
I know I share a lot of craft projects.
One of my little guys at preschool today said-
"Ya know- I only come for the crafts!"
 
He was a little out -of-sorts today. Lol
But you better believe- I was thankful that Funshine Express has such great art & craft projects!
 
Each craft is so thoughtful.
Today we were weaving black and white paper together.
I pulled out my punches- and let them punch out shapes to place on their woven mats.
(all the paper provided by Funshine- naturally and the shape idea suggested by them too.)
 
 
THEN



For the opposite theme: Funshine also provided a matching game. I love how they always include a station/game idea in each monthly curriculum box. It helps keep my stations fresh and in line with the monthly theme.

2/24/14

Fizzle Paint Project

Is it a Science Project... or is it an Art Project?
A little bit of both- my kids really enjoyed this project suggested by Funshine Express today!

Funshine Express- suggested adding baking soda to our normal preschool paint. (This makes the paint a tad bit thicker- but kids didn't notice.)
Once they were done painting- I brought over cups with vinegar in them. Funshine Express supplied the droppers. The kids were thrilled- dropping vinegar on their pictures and seeing them bubble up!

One boy had painted a dragon- he was over the moon to see the fire from his dragons mouth- really boil up!

Who thinks this stuff up at Funshine Express? What a great idea, and so simple!

I love the many exploration projects, activities and crafts Funshine Express offers and suggests.
I mean, I love Pinterest- but I waste a lot of time getting lost on searches.

I love my Funshine Express Monthly Curriculum kit. It comes with all these simple- fail proof ideas!
I can't count how many times I have tried something seen on Pinterest- only to have it fail. So disappointing. I know I can count on the activities suggested in my monthly kit!

No plan B needed!

2/21/14

Olympics Added Theme

How could we NOT sneak in a
Winter Olympic Unit at Preschool?
 
This past week was so much fun!
(except for the day- I got hit with the 24 hr stomach flu.)



Here are some helpful handouts I used during our Winter Olympic Unit this pass week.

Cute handout on this site: For Olympic Flag/ Olympic Rings

 
Like I've said- I love how my Funshine Express Monthly Curriculum is so easy to modify!
For our writing activity- I just cut the letter R off the top of my Funshine worksheet. (They had "R- for Radio".) I replaced the color portion with an Olympic Flag worksheet. (R- for Olympic RINGS!) Simple! And soooo helpful!
I don't have to create everything... I just have to tweak what Funshine Express sends me in my monthly kit!

Cute winter FREE- Olympic print-ables (for preschoolers) on this site here

 
This was a really cute workbook to introduce the different Olympic sports.


Here is our Olympic torch.
We used it for a fun relay race: Passing the Olympic Torch!
(They were all on the same team. I timed them, and then we ran it again to see if they could beat their own team time.) Everyone felt like a winner!
 
We painted rings- using small cups.
 
And naturally-  today we made gold metals!
They cut out yellow circles. We stapled yarn for the necklace and then taped gold coins in the center.
 
It was such a fun week!
GO TEAM USA!

2/17/14

Number Station

Today I thought I would share a simple station for preschool.
 
I love how versatile the supplies I get from Funshine Express are! Every month I get a few numbers in my monthly curriculum kit. (the numbers we are working on for the month.) I found this pocket chart at our local dollar store. Today I let the kids play with our number/shape/color board for one of our stations. This little guy wanted to put the numbers in order.

There are so many ways to use the supplies.
Thank-you Funshine Express- for making my life, just a little easier!

I am sneaking in another theme this month- Olympics! So fun!! That is what I appreciate the most about my Funshine Express Monthly Curriculum kit. Is the ease of day-to day planning... but when I want... I can take extra time to customize the curriculum and add and adjust to what fits the needs and interest of my preschool group.

Go USA!

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