Monday, April 29, 2013

Poppin's Book Nook: The Wizard by Jack Prelutsky

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Welcome back to the 2nd post in the Poppin's Book Nook! 
I am so excited to be participating in this brand new virtual book club with so many other fun and creative bloggers! Each month we are given a theme and each participating blogger is free to choose their own book within that theme. We post about our book and any related activities or crafts we did based on the book, on the last Monday of every month. With so many bloggers participating, your will see a wide range of books and activities within each months theme! 
To see a list of  all of our upcoming topics, visit Enchanted Homeschooling Mom!

March's theme is 

and we have chosen the book

"The Wizard" really is a unique book. The illustrations, by Brandon Dorman, are absolutely amazing! 
It's not a happy-go-lucky type of book, but I really wouldn't call it "dark" at all either. It cleverly rhymes while telling the story of a gloomy wizard conjuring up potions and turning a frog into several other animals, before last turning him back into a frog and leaving you to wonder if his next "victim" is a within a group of children playing outside his tower. It really is so interesting! My oldest "L" (4 1/2) really loved it! 

We decided to conjure up some of our own potions! 
To view this activity, click the picture below

Next month's theme is related to prehistoric/dinosaurs
Make sure you visit The Poppin's Book Nook's 

Pretend Play: Wizards and Potions

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We spent an entire morning pretending to be Wizards in an outdoor Potion Shop I set up for the boys!
We've done many similar setups before, but it NEVER gets old and I think the older L becomes, the more imaginative play he puts into it, rather than just mixing stuff together (although that is entirely fun too!)

We set this up after reading 
The Wizard by Jack Prelutskywhich we read for this month's "wizard theme" in the new 
Poppin's Book Nook Virtual Book Club. Click the photo below to see our review of the book and learn more about The Poppin's Book Nook! 

I put some water and green food coloring into a spouted jug so the boys could refill their potions as they wanted, plus they both think it's fun to pour the water from the spout. I set many bowls, cups, and utensils on a small table along with some paint chip cards that we pretending to use as "potion recipes." 


I raided our halloween stash and found some eyeballs, bats, and spiders. L liked these the most! 

I put some of our scented and colored epsom salts into a muffin tin to dissolve into their potions. 
To see how to make colored and scented epsom salts for sensory play, click HERE.

Waterbeads...or "frog eggs"

creepy crawly critters

and the potion making began!

We made potions that would... 
-turn grandma into a baby
-turn a normal tree into a "candy" tree
-turn uncle Mike into a frog
-turn ME into a giant bunny
and many more

Bubble Bubble, toil and trouble!

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Color of the Week: Brown

Welcome back to the 
here on Play Create Explore!

This week we explored the color Brown! I had so much I wanted to do for brown, but I just didn't get to everything due to a hectic week. Please also excuse the lack of  "in action" pictures, as it has seemed that  time has slipped away from me this week.

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Brown Objects Exploration Bin
As always, the first thing we do on the first day of our color themed weeks, is walk around the house and gather a bunch of our toys and other objects for the color of the week. This serves as a bit of an introduction to the color of the week and we also explore this bowl all throughout the week. I keep it right on the dining room table and we often go through this bowl and talk about the things in it during breakfast, lunch or dinner. For my 20 month old, it serves as a great way to identify and verbalize new objects, experience different shapes and textures, as well as different shades of our color.  For my oldest, it's a great tool for encouraging language and communication.

Simple Brown Sensory Bins
 (from top to bottom)

Chocolate Scented Rice (see how to make HERE)
Coffee Beans
Coffee Grounds
A mixture of them all plus dry beans

Brown Animal Corral 
We have lots of plastic animals so I just gathered the ones with brown and put them inside our fence. This gave both boys the opportunity for pretend play, but also a great way to identify the names of animals and their characteristics.

Hot Chocolate Bath
We didn't get around to a brown themed bath this week, BUT this is our hot chocolate themed bath that we did this past December. The brown water is created with hot chocolate packets and smelled amazing. It would be such a fun brown themed bath! See the details of our bath HERE on Bath Activities for Kids.

I bought these cookie coasters in the dollar bin at Target 
and we used them for pretend play, counting, and matching.

Chocolate Play Dough
I made some Chocolate Play Dough using Nurture's Store's Chocolate Play Dough Recipe, but  also adding a bit of chocolate extract as well. Man did this smell amazing! This wasn't our first time making chocolate play dough, but it STILL blew me away how delicious it smelled. 

What else did we do?
Here are a few other very simple ways we focused on "brown" this week

--We identified brown ALL over the place. If something was brown, frequently I identified it and said it outloud. "The table is brown."  "The dirt is brown." "What color is our couch? Our couch is brown!" You can never have too much repetition! However, we didn't leave out or ignore other colors though. In our everyday play I still identified other colors, I just put a lot of focus on brown specifically!

We talked a lot about animals with brown fur and feathers. 

We read the books "Brown Bear Brown Bear" and "Little Nut Brown Hare."

-We listened to THIS   brown color themed kindergarten song on Youtube.

We checked out different brown foods

As a treat, the boys ate chocolate chip cookies and drank chocolate milk! 

We went outside on a nature walk to discover and talk about all the brown things we saw.

Ideas from others

Join me here next Monday as we continue with Pink!

To see ALL of our Color of the Week Posts, 
Click the photo below!

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Miniature Dinosaur Garden

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I created this dinosaur garden for a friend's two little boys who love dinosaurs! We've made fairy garden's before (see HERE and HERE) but this was also so fun to make and I know that I can't wait to make one for my own two dinosaur lovers :) It's a fun way to add a bit of pretend play to giving a child the gentle responsibility of caring for their own plants. 

I used a large ceramic pot, some amazing and unique succulents, regular (don't use fertilized soil for succulents) potting soil, plastic dinosaur fossil skulls, and plastic dinosaurs.  
The pot had a drainage hole, but I did add a layer of rock to the bottom before covering with soil. 

Oh I just love succulents! I made sure I picked some very unique ones that the boys would find interesting. My oldest (4 1/2) loved these! Especially the ones that look like they have teeth and the other ones that look like they have spider webs on them. 

I chose succulents not only for their uniqueness, but also because most are very easy to care for. They are hardy plants that can take on a lot of sun and require little water. 

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