Friday, September 30, 2016

Toddler Playschool: E is for Everything About Me {free printable}

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Our Toddler Playschool is going well. When planning for the letter E, I came up with an Everything About Me theme. One of the most relevant topics for toddlers and preschoolers is their families, so I thought we'd spend some time practicing name recognition, talking about our family, and spending some time doing our favorite activities.
 

This curriculum is ideal for 2-3 year olds. We'll be reinforcing colors and shapes and introducing letters and numbers. There will also be exploration of different themes each week as we proceed through the alphabet. It provides a flexible framework of activity ideas that can used in the home or classroom. Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see here for more info.
 
Books
The Family Book by Todd Parr
I'm Gonna Like Me by Jamie Lee Curtis
My Favorite Things by Richard Rodgers
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
 

Songs and Fingerplays

Family Finger Song
Daddy finger, Daddy finger,
Where are you?
Here I am, here I am,
How do you do?
 
(repeat with Mommy, brother, sister, baby, and any desired family members)
 
I'm Amazing
(Oh, My Darlin' Clementine tune)
I'm amazing, I'm amazing
I'm amazing as can be.
I'm fantastic, I'm terrific.
I'm amazing as can be.
 
Literacy
E Page for Alphabet Book
Create a page for the alphabet book. Each page is blank except for the week's letter. Children can be provided with an open-ended activity to decorate the page of their book.  Or you can use the suggested activities to set up an activity to create the page. Once done, pages can be laminated and bound with spiral binding or rings. You can find a template for this book here.
 
 
Click the link below to download 


 If you missed any of the other lesson plans in this series, you can find them here:
 
I'd love for you to join us on our adventure! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #toddlerplayschool so I can see all of your wonderful activities!
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Apologetic Parenting: 5 Reasons Why Moms Apologize for Their Kids

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I recently went to lunch with a dear friend.  Both of us had our children with us.  We sat there, visiting and eating in a family restaurant with four children ranging from ages 2-10 years old.  And I suddenly became painfully aware of something we were both doing too much of.  Now, one would think it'd be bragging about a recent dance recital or talking about summer plans. Instead, we kept apologizing for things our children were saying or doing. But the kicker is, our children weren't really doing anything outside the realm of being kids.

Which begs the question:
 When did moms start feeling like we had to apologize
for our children behaving like children?
 
 
After this, I started paying attention to two things:
           1. How often was I apologizing to others about my children's behaviors?
           2. How often were others apologizing to me for the behavior of their children?


What I found amazed me. Too many times the words "I'm sorry" were escaping from someone's lips. Why are we like this? I've pondered this for months.  Here are just five of the reasons why moms are too hard on themselves that I've come up with.
 
Baby Jessica vs. Baby Lane
I was seven when Baby Jessica McClure fell down that well in Texas. Along with my family, I watched the rescue attempts, the news updates, and saw the countless newspaper stories regarding the situation. The nation rallied around her family, providing support, prayers, and a lack of judgment. I don't remember at any point hearing someone ask why her parents were not watching her. No one
publicly ridiculed the McClures on their parenting choices. No. The country just waited, with bated breath, until that little girl was safe.
 
Fast forward to 2016, the Year of the Perfect Parent. A sweet little boy and his family are visiting the happiest place on Earth when the unexplainable happens. After news of Lane Graves' death due to an alligator attack at a Disney Resort hit the Internet, it seemed that a large majority of commenters on online articles and Facebook threads were all parenting professionals or alligator experts. Gone was the compassion that Baby Jessica's family received. Instead, the Graves family was berated for choices that they will forever live and struggle with.
 
Where did our compassion go?  Society no longer gives grace for anything less than perfect parenting, which entails being a future-seeing, accident-preventing, never-failing superhero. So we perpetually fear that anything our children say or do is going to result in someone judging our parenting skills and love for our children.
 
It's Hard to Let Go
After we bring our babies home, we are responsible for their care. The baby cries and we have to figure out what WE must do to fix the situation. Baby's behavior is quite frequently contingent on how well we do in our job of caring for them (colic, medical issues, etc aside). As Baby grows into Toddler, their moods start to fluctuate on other internal and external sources outside of the basic human needs. Tantrums happen. Behavioral issues bloom. I don't know of any moms that have struggled with their children's behavior and not questioned, "What did I do wrong?"  At some point, we have to let go and let God... to understand that our children's choices and behaviors aren't always a reflection on us.  Momma Guilt is real and it's a beast.

The Art of Competitive Parenting
Life in the "every one gets a trophy" age has seemed to only increase competitiveness amongst children and parents. We've turned from a society that focuses on "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game" to "It doesn't matter how you play the game, you're going to feel like a winner no matter what." Now I know that statement might cause controversy.  But it's true.  I don't believe for a second that losing a soccer match is going to have a detrimental effect on how productive of an adult a child will grow to be.  No longer can our kids (and us as parents)  be satisfied with them going out there and giving their best, win or lose. Through this new phenomenon in children's sports, we are seeing a generation that does not know how to fail and parents who feel obligated to ensure their children feel successful, no matter what. It's not healthy.  Sure, we all want our children to be empowered and feel capable.  But they also need to know how to handle failure.

Conversations then seem to turn to how many activities fill up their family schedule. A busier schedule is seen as a higher success at parenting. But that's not true. You know your children.  You know if they thrive best immersed in activities, with minimal structure, or with lots of family time. I'm telling you this: The amount of activities you have your child enrolled in has no correlation to your parenting skills.

The Fallout from Mommy Wars
Breast vs. Bottle. Vaccinations. Circumcision. Right there are 3 hot topics guaranteed to start a Mommy War.  There are so many hot topics that pit mothers against each other.  And it seems that some use these controversial issues to make themselves appear/feel better than other moms.  Case in point... I actually had a Facebook friend private message me links to articles on the dangers of vaccines after I had posted pictures of Sunny playing joyfully after getting her shots.  We use an alternative vaccine schedule (only one live vax at a time, spread the others out so it isn't 4 at once). Yet, she still felt the need to literally tell me that she couldn't believe that I was "subjecting" my child to such things.  When did we feel this was okay? What has been fed to us that we feel we must challenge other's mothering styles? No wonder we constantly apologize... We constantly feel as though we are being judged.

The Online Community Awaits
Can you scroll through twenty posts on Facebook without seeing someone sharing how (insert complimentary word here) their child is? It can be virtually impossible for some. And while I'm not trashing it, (because I do it, too), it can be disheartening. Social media has allowed us to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away, share pictures of our meals with a few clicks, and catch the latest breaking news. But at what cost? Most moms don't post pictures of their toddler having a meltdown because they got a red cup instead of a yellow one. We don't post on how frustrating it is that our teenager is being defiant and disrespectful. And we certainly don't proudly post pictures of our beds that are rarely made or the dishes piled up in the sink. So much of our online lives are filtered. We share only what we want to, offering others a censored view of just how we live day to day. This results in an almost shameful feeling when we interact with people face to face. Our apologies could very well be based on the fact that we cannot filter out the realness of our lives.


 
So here we are... Stuck in the rut of feeling like we need to apologize every time our toddler has a meltdown in Target, when the kids are a bit too loud at a restaurant, or when we feel like our attempts to make things special fall flat.  No. Nope. No. Enough.  Enough of that.  Stop apologizing to other people for your parenting and for your kids being kids. 

There is one person that you should be saying "I'm sorry" to, and that's yourself. 

Apologize to yourself for wishing you could be the momma that you aren't.
Apologize to yourself for being so hard on the momma that you are.
Apologize to yourself for letting the world make you think that you are less than amazing.

Because you are.... You are amazing. You. Are. Amazing.  And don't you let anyone make you question that. 




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Friday, September 23, 2016

Toddler Playschool: D is for Down on the Farm Lesson Plan {free printable}

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Well, we're on week 3 of our Toddler Playschool adventure. We're doing Farm themed activities for toddlers, and I'm sooo excited!  Farm units were always one of my favorites when I was teaching preschool.  They offer so many different topics for a variety of interest in regards to various animals, lots of machinery, and food.  I also think it's a wonderful opportunity for children to learn where their food comes from!
 
 
This curriculum is ideal for 2-3 year olds. We'll be reinforcing colors and shapes and introducing letters and numbers. There will also be exploration of different themes each week as we proceed through the alphabet. It provides a flexible framework of activity ideas that can used in the home or classroom. Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see here for more info.

Books
Down on the Farm by Merrily Kutner
The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend
Chuck's Truck by Peggy Perry Anderson
Click! Clack! Moo! by Doreen Cronin
Simpson's Sheep Won't Go to Sleep by Bruce Arant
 
Songs and Fingerplays
Old MacDonald Music Basket
Gather small plastic or stuffed animals into a basket. As you sing "Old MacDonald", the children can take turns picking which animal comes next in the song.

The Wheels on Chuck's Truck
(The Wheels on the Bus tune)
The wheels on Chuck's truck go round and round
Round and round, round and round
The wheels on Chuck's truck go round and round
All the way to town

The doors on Chuck's truck go open and shut
Open and shut, open and shut
The doors on Chuck's truck go open and shut
All the way to town

The animals on Chuck's truck go bump, bump, bump
Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump
The animals on Chuck's truck go bump, bump, bump
All the way to town

The engine on Chuck's truck go break, clank, break
Break, clank, break, break, clank, break
The engine on Chuck's truck go break, clank, break
All the way to town
--Traditonal, Adapted by Andie Jaye

5 Little Ducks
Five little ducks
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
Mother duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack."
But only four little ducks came back.


(repeat, counting down, until none of the little ducks came back)

Sad mother duck
Went out one day
Over the hill and far away
The sad mother duck said
"Quack, quack, quack." (very strongly)
And all of the five little ducks came back.

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for my master,
One for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.


Literacy
D Page for Alphabet Book
Create a page for the alphabet book. Each page is blank except for the week's letter. Children can be provided with an open-ended activity to decorate the page of their book.  Or you can use the suggested activities to set up an activity to create the page. Once done, pages can be laminated and bound with spiral binding or rings. You can find a template for this book here.
 
Click the link below to download 

 If you missed any of the other lesson plans in this series, you can find them here:
 
I'd love for you to join us on our adventure! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #toddlerplayschool so I can see all of your wonderful activities!
 



Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Toddler Playschool: C is for Community Helpers Lesson Plan {free printable}

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Exploring Community Helpers with toddlers and preschoolers is one of my very favorite themes.  With the wide variety of individuals that help run or cities and towns, it opens up so many avenues for exploration and discovery. Below you can find our todder lesson plan for community helpers such as firefighters, mail carriers, librarians, and more.
 

 
This curriculum is ideal for 2-3 year olds. We'll be reinforcing colors and shapes and introducing letters and numbers. There will also be exploration of different themes each week as we proceed through the alphabet. It provides a flexible framework of activity ideas that can used in the home or classroom. Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see here for more info.
 
Books
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker     
Fire Engine Man by Andrea Zimmerman
Send It by Don Carter
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
 
Songs and Fingerplays
Can You Hammer a Nail?
(Do Your Ears Hang Low tune)
Can you hammer a nail?
Can you saw a piece of wood?
Are you handy with a saw?
Can you use them like you should?
A construction worker can
Use these tools in different ways
Each and every day.
 
5 Little Firefighters
Five little firefighters standing in a row.
Ring goes the bell, down the pole they go.
They jump on the engine and put out the fire.
Now they're back home, but my, they're tired.
 
These are My Glasses
(Laurie Berkner Band)
 

 
Literacy
C Page for Alphabet Book
Create a page for the alphabet book. Each page is blank except for the week's letter. Children can be provided with an open-ended activity to decorate the page of their book.  Or you can use the suggested activities to set up an activity to create the page. Once done, pages can be laminated and bound with spiral binding or rings. You can find a template for this book here.

Write a Letter
Materials Needed:
paper
markers, crayons, stampers
stickers
envelopes

How To:
Encourage children to "write" a letter to someone. The products can be mailed or hand-delivered to their intended recipients.

 
Picture Book Scavenger Hunt
 
 
Click the link below to download 

 If you missed any of the other lesson plans in this series, you can find them here:
I'd love for you to join us on our adventure! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #toddlerplayschool so I can see all of your wonderful activities!

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Easy Sensory Bin Idea for Toddlers

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Well, we did something a little bit different today.  I got a new sensory bin set up and the mood struck me to share it with you all... right then and there.  So off to Facebook I went and did a live video.  If you missed it, you can watch it here. Don't forget to like the Crayon Freckles page while you're there for more great ideas!
 
 
If you missed the video, here's the jist of it.  It's a super easy sensory bin for toddlers.  I dumped 6 bags of popcorn kernels into an under the bed storage bin, tossed in a few caps from fruit squeeze pouches, some scoops and let Sunny (27 months) explore.  This activity is also fun because it has a fall feel to it with the corn and the red caps that resemble apples.  It could definitely be used with an apple themed curriculum.
 
After a bit of self-exploration time, play with this sensory bin can be expanded by using the following ideas:
  • Hide the caps in the kernels and then go looking for them. 
  • Use an ice cream scoop to dig the caps out and put them in a bowl.
  • Count how many scoops it takes to fill up a small bowl.
  • Use tongs to pluck the caps out of the kernels.
  • Take turns "burying" each other's hands.

It's such a struggle when I hear moms talk about how hard it is to find the time to plan and set up activities for their kids.  Don't let social media trick you into thinking that anything less than Pinterest-Perfect isn't acceptable. Our kids won't remember all the details.  They're going to remember spending time with you.  So go easy on yourself.
 



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Friday, September 9, 2016

Toddler Playschool: B is for Bugs Lesson Plan {free printable}

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The past week has been a bit of a struggle as we focus on more planned, structured activities. But Sunny {2 years} seems to have enjoyed our activities thus far... So we're onto week 2: B is for Bugs. Bug activities for toddlers and preschoolers can be tricky if they have an aversion to creepy crawly things, but these fun activities just may help to make them a little less scary.
 
 
This curriculum is ideal for 2-3 year olds. We'll be reinforcing colors and shapes and introducing letters and numbers. There will also be exploration of different themes each week as we proceed through the alphabet. It provides a flexible framework of activity ideas that can used in the home or classroom. Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see here for more info.

Books
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
Bee and Me by Ellen J. McGuinness

Songs and Fingerplays
The Ants Go Marching
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two,
The little one stops to tie his shoe
And they all go marching down around the town
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!


(repeat and insert the following)
Three by three... The little one stops to climb a tree
Four by four...The little one stops to shut the door
Five by five...The little one stops to take a dive
Six by six...The little one stops to pick up sticks

Seven by seven...The little one stops to go to heaven
Eight by eight...The little one stops to shut the gate
Nine by nine...The little one stops to scratch his spine
Ten by ten...The little one stops to say "THE END"


Itsy, Bitsy Spider
The itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

 
The Doodlebugs Song
(Laurie Berkner Band)
Find it here
Download the song here

The Baby Bumblebee Song
I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee
Won't my Mommy be so proud of me
I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee -
OUCH! It stung me!


I'm squishin' up my baby bumble bee
Won't my Mommy be so proud of me
I'm squishin' up my baby bumble bee -
EW! What a mess!


I'm washin' off my baby bumble bee
Won't my Mommy be so proud of me
I'm washin' off my baby bumble bee -
All clean!


Literacy
Letter B Page for Alphabet Book
Create a page for the alphabet book. Each page is blank except for the week's letter. Children can be provided with an open-ended activity to decorate the page of their book.  Or you can use the suggested activities to set up an activity to create the page. Once done, pages can be laminated and bound with spiral binding or rings. You can find a template for this book here.
 
 
Click the link below to download 


 If you missed any of the other lesson plans in this series, you can find them here:
 
I'd love for you to join us on our adventure! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #toddlerplayschool so I can see all of your wonderful activities!




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Monday, September 5, 2016

35 Apple Activities for Kids

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It's apple picking time!!!  This week, we are doing an apple theme for the letter A in our Toddler Playschool.  You can find our free printable lesson plans for this week here.  I wanted to also share with you some of the amazing fun and educational apple activities from some of my favorite bloggers.  On Friday, I shared our A is for Apples Toddler Activity calendar. Some of these activities are ones that we are using this week!


Spice up your playdough fun with homemade apple pie playdough.
Work on matching upper and lower case letters with this free printable.
Practice lacing skills by making stuffed paper apples.
Have some science fun with these apple volcanoes.
Use this apple printable to practice counting through a fun game.



Make some gorgeous apple suncatchers to spruce up your windows.
Go bobbing for apples using a method that works on fine motor skills.
Crate a festive apple garland with yarn.
Head to your local library and check out some of these apple books for kids.
Mix up your sensory bin with this apple pie version.



Practice one-to-one correspondence with this apple counting activity.
Have fun working on color matching and fine motor skills with this apple sensory bin.
Get one-to-one correspondence and fine motor skill practice with this easy to make apple game.
Change up your playdough station with some homemade green apple scented playdough.



Work on cutting skills and name spelling with these super cute apple name puzzles.
Make a yummy apple themed snack like these crunchy apple boats.
Spruce up your dramatic play corner by turning it into an apple stand.
Practice letter recognition and name spelling with this free apple printable.



Have some snacktime fun by making some apple slice "cookies".
Use these free apple number puzzles to reinforce counting skills.
Practice name spelling with this inventive felt and button apple activity.
Have some dramatic play fun after making your kiddos a felt apple pie making play kit.


Spend some time in the kitchen and makes these yummy apple pie bites for dessert.
Add some apple songs into your circle time or during free play.
Get to building with some block play inspired by an apple book.
Log on and check out these apple-themed videos.
Start prep early and make some crock pot applesauce to eat with dinner.



Use this apple counting activity to practice counting skills with fingerprints.
Mix science with your sensory bin with this magnetic apples sensory bin.
Work on fine motor skills by setting up an apple tree playdough table.
Build cutting skills with these free apple cutting practice pages.
Have some family fun and play this ten apples up on top math game.





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Friday, September 2, 2016

Toddler Playschool: A is for Apples Lesson Plan {free printable}

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Here we go!  Toddlerhood is a fun age filled with intrigue and excitement regarding just about anything. I'm so excited about starting Toddler Playschool with Sunny {2 years old}. She seems to be excited to do "school".  It's so tough to be the littlest left behind when the big kids go to school.  So I've planned some activities that I can do with her to fill our days and give us a sense of structure.  Over the next few months, you will be able to find printable thematic lesson plans for toddlers, each based on a different letter of the alphabet.  We're starting out with a fun, but basic theme for the letter A: Apples.  Commence Toddler Playschool.
 
 
This curriculum is ideal for 2-3 year olds. We'll be reinforcing colors and shapes and introducing letters and numbers. There will also be exploration of different themes each week as we proceed through the alphabet. It provides a flexible framework of activity ideas that can used in the home or classroom. Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see here for more info.

Books
10 Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff
The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray

Songs
10 Little Apples
(Ten Little Indians tune)
One little, two little, three little apples,
Four little, five little, six little apples,
Seven little, eight little, nine little apples,
Ten apples in the tree.


5 Little Apples Sitting in a Tree
5 little apples sitting in a tree
One looked down and smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could,
One fell down … mmmm it was good!
(continue on until no more apples)

7 Days in a Week
There are seven days
There are seven days
There are seven days in a week

Sunday, Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

I'm a Little Apple (I'm a Little Teapot tune)
I'm a little apple, short and round,
I make a munchy, crunchy sound,
Bake me in a pie and you will see -
I'm delicious as can be!


Literacy
A Page for Alphabet Book
Create a page for the alphabet book. Each page is blank except for the week's letter. Children can be provided with an open-ended activity to decorate the page of their book.  Or you can use the suggested activities to set up an activity to create the page. Once done, pages can be laminated and bound with spiral binding or rings. You can find a template for this book here.
 
The letter A page of the alphabet book, can be done in conjunction with the art project for Tuesday, which is stamp painting with apples. (See instruction in Arts & Crafts below.)
 
Arts and Crafts
A Page for Alphabet Book
Materials Needed:
red and/or green paint
apples cut in half
 
How To:
Cut apples in half. Provide children with red and green paint and letter A page.  Encourage them to stamp paint with the apples on the page.

Click the link below to download 

 If you missed any of the other lesson plans in this series, you can find them here:
 
I'd love for you to join us on our adventure! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #toddlerplayschool so I can see all of your wonderful activities!




Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
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