Friday, November 25, 2016

Toddler Playschool: M is for My 5 Senses {free printable}

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When looking at the letter M for this week's lesson plan printable, I decided to go with a theme that would allow a wide variety of exploration.  For this week, that equivocated to creating a lesson plan that allowed toddlers to explore their five senses.  Each day this week focuses on one of the five senses.
 
 
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
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Jane Yolen
The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin
I Will Be Especially Very Careful by Lauren Child
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure by Wynton Marsalis
The Nose Book by Al Perkins

Songs and Fingerplays
These are My Glasses (Laurie Berkner Band)
Find it here
Download the song here
 
The Shakey Egg Song (I Know a Chicken) (Laurie Berkner Band)
Find it here
Download the song here
 
The Skunk Song
Well, I stuck my head in a little skunk's hole
And the little skunk said, "Well, bless my soul!
Take it out! Take it out! Take it out! Take it out!
Remove it!"
Psssssttt.... I removed it too late!
 
 
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!
 



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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Word Search for Kids {free printable}

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Who is ready for Turkey Day? The kids are out of school, the relatives are headed in, and Momma has a big to-do list! Here's a free Thanksgiving word search for kids that might help keep them occupied for a little while.
 

Get the Thanksgiving Word Search Printable here

Headed out on the road? Hurry over and print out my free Road Trip word search to keep those little minds busy while you travel.




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Friday, November 18, 2016

Toddler Playschool: L is for Leaves Lesson Plan {free printable}

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Fall is my favorite season.  So when those leaves start changing my brain starts turning with things that we can do to make the most of the season. I know we're going to have a ton of fun celebrating this season in our Toddler Playschool.   Many of the activities listed in this free Letter L lesson plan printable incorporate real leaves from outside. Just going out and collecting them can be a learning experience in itself!
 
  
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
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland
Leaves Fall Down by Lisa Bullard
Leaves by David Ezra Stein
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Songs and Fingerplays
5 Little Leaves Sitting in a Tree
Five little leaves on the tree next door
One fell off and there were four
Four little leaves swaying on the tree
One fell off and there were three
Three little leaves until the wind blew
One fell off and there were two
Two little leaves sitting in the sun
One fell out and there was one
One little leaf swinging all alone
He fell off and then there were none
No little leaves on the tree next door
Time to rake and rake some more

What Falls in the Fall? (Laurie Berkner Band)
Find it here
Download the song here

Autumn Leaves (London Bridge tune)
Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down
Autumn leaves are falling down on the ground
 
 
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!
 



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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Easy Fall Sensory Bin for Kids

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Fall is my favorite season, hands down.  The colors, the smells, the sounds.... It's all so amazing to me.  I like to change our sensory bin for the seasons or based on whatever theme we are currently learning about.  So being able to create a fall sensory bin for the kids to explore is always exciting to me.
 
There's nothing super special about it.  I mixed the popcorn kernels that were already in it with a bag of mixed soup beans.  Then I added some brown gift bag shredded paper.  This creates a wonderfully diverse base mix.  To add some color, I added beads, craft poms, and buttons in fall colors.  You know: red, yellow, orange, and brown.  I also tossed in some sticks, acorns, and dried leaves. (Please note that if you choose to add smaller items with toddlers, parental supervision during play is necessary.)
 
Here are just a few things that your kids can do with a sensory bin made up of these items:
  • Pluck out the colored craft poms or buttons with tongs and sort by color.
  • "Rake" the leaves with a sandbox trowel.
  • Practice patterns with colored craft poms or buttons.
  • Practice one-to-one correspondence by rolling a dice and use tongs to pick out that specific number of items.
  • Build a leaf pile and let dolls or toy characters "jump" in it.
  • Sift through with fingers to find the hidden beads.
  • Build a house of sticks for a toy animal to nest in.

I had a friend who asked for tips on creating inviting sensory bins for her preschooler.  My advice was, "Don't overthink it." Raid your crafting stash, sewing kit, and the holiday aisle at the craft store. It's usually the simple things that lend themselves to so much exploration and learning for our kiddos!




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Monday, November 14, 2016

Talking About Consent with Children

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It's the holidays, which means lots of get-togethers with family, friends, and coworkers. As both a child and a parent, I always loathe these for one single reason.... all the people that feel entitled to hug and kiss on my children. I remember those awkward hugs and wet kisses being forced upon my cheeks as a child. It was gross and made me feel uncomfortable.  It's important to me that I don't force my children to show affection to people if they aren't willing or comfortable with it.  Here are five reasons for my thinking.
 
Children need to know that their body belongs to them
It's tough being a kid.  You have to do what your parents say, follow rules you don't always understand, and don't always have a say in what your choices are.  What control do our children have over their worlds? We can empower them by assuring them that their body belongs to them. They have a say in what happens to it.  If this means that they no longer want you to keep them company during bath time or while changing and they are of a reasonable age to be alone in the shower/tub, than we acquiesce.
 
Relationships don't equal automatic consent
Just because a friend or family member requests physical affection, doesn't mean it's okay to force a child to comply.  Forcing a child to hug/kiss/other someone when they don't want to sets a dangerous precedent.  Abuse of children statistically doesn't happen by a stranger.  It's usually someone the child is familiar with.  By asserting that they "must" give Uncle Dave a hug or it'll hurt his feelings just muddies the water when another person close to them requests physical contact that may not be appropriate.  Our youngest isn't always so keen to hug her dad goodnight sometimes.  I can't say that it doesn't hurt his feelings, I know it does... But he is amazing in that he respects her choices. So we ask her if she wants to give Daddy a handshake, hug, or high five. Usually she'll choose one of these.  Sometimes, not. And that's okay.
 
It's okay to say "no" to physical touch
Human people, child and adult alike, should never be forced to submit to physical affection just to make someone else happy.  That's not how things are supposed to work.  So maybe Aunt Mable goes home mad because she didn't get her hug and kiss. So what?  It's much better than your child thinking that you disregard their feelings in order to please someone else.  This applies to tickling and other forms of physical play.  If your child says "stop", even while giggling and screaming with glee, then stop.  Because it's important for them to learn, even at a young age, that "no" means "no".
 
I wouldn't want it forced upon me
Think about it.  What if you went to an office party for our spouse's work and upon leaving, Hubby pressures you to kiss his boss (whom you see 1-2 times a year) on the cheek before you leave.  That would be inappropriate and likely end with someone sleeping on the couch, right? So why should our standards be any different for our children?
 
The bathing suit rule
The rule of our house: If your bathing suit covers it, no one (except a parent or doctor) needs to see or touch it. And even then, it needs to be with an explanation and because of a reason. The PANTS Project has some great information and talking points on their website.
 
 
So that's that.  I don't know that I worded this post right.  I'm not trying to be preachy or to stand on a soapbox.  I just want our kids to be safe.  It can be an ugly, scary world. Parenting in today's society is harder than ever.  So, if you've not ever considered these points, maybe it's given you something to mull over.  If you have, perhaps it will give you some validation that you aren't the only one.
 
 



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Friday, November 11, 2016

Toddler Playschool: K is for Kitchen Fun lesson plan {free printable}

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When looking at ideas for the letter K free printable, the first thing that popped into my mind was Kitchen Fun. It opens the door to so many fun activities.  Many kids love to help prepare meals and can learn so much during the cooking process.  Likewise, foods and utensils can provide ample opportunities for exploration of many of the senses. Very excited to do some of these activities this week in our 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
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Carrot Soup by John Segal
 
Songs and Fingerplays
Who Stole the Muffin
Who stole the muffin from the muffin tray? (name child)
(Child's name) stole the muffin from the muffin tray.
Named child responds: Who me?
Group: Yes you!
Named child: Couldn't be!
Group: Then who?
Named child: (Says another child's name) stole the muffin from the muffin tray.
(repeat)
 
Recipe (Stir it Up) (Imagination Movers)
Download the song here
 
The ABC Song
A - B - C - D - E - F - G
H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P
Q - R - S - T - U- V,
W - X - Y and Z
Now I know my ABC's
Next time won't you sing with me.
 
I'd Eat it Anyway (Imagination Movers)
 
 
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!
 



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Monday, November 7, 2016

A Mother's Concern on the Eve of Election Day

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Today is a day that will go down in history.  No matter what side you are on, or what belief system and/or political party you subscribe to, I think we can all agree that today's election is monumental.  Never before has the United States seen an election like this. And I'm scared as hell.
 
I know the type of world that I want my children to grow up in.  One that is free of hatred... Where people show compassion to others. Where we follow the words of Jesus and do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  A world that does not discriminate based on skin color, religion, or sexual orientation.  Where man and woman- black, white, or brown- are seen as equal.

This election has brought so much to light.  We've all seen it.  You know you have.  You've seen your Facebook friends posting internet memes and bogus, slanted news reports about their candidate. The internet has taken on a life of its own, tilting "breaking news" to whatever side they favor. It's maddening.

All I know is this....

Every vote counts. The future of our nation is on this election. What way do you want it to go? Get out and vote, America... Especially you, women.  So many were beaten and tortured to ensure your right to vote. Don't squander it. Get out there and vote, let your voice be heard.
 



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Multicultural Thank You Poster: Free Printable

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It's November and we're all celebrating what we're thankful for.  In today's climate, there seems to be a divide between being able to celebrate who we are while appreciating and respecting other cultures.  So I created this poster that shows 25 ways to say "thank you" in various languages.  It's a great addition a preschool or elementary school classroom, or a homeschool environment.  It's never too early to expose our children to the ways of the world.

 
Click the link below to download 


I'd love to see how you use this in your classroom! Please feel free to post a picture below or on the Crayon Freckles Facebook page!
 



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Friday, November 4, 2016

Toddler Playschool: J is for Jungle Animals Lesson Plan {free printable}

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J is a tough letter to come up with a theme that is broad enough to supply a week's worth of opportunities for learning. With the popularity of the show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, I finally settled on Jungle Animals because, well, tigers live in the jungle... You get the connection. When I started planning, I couldn't believe how many ideas came popping up in my brain or through Pinterest.  It's going to be a fun week with this toddler lesson plan for jungle animals!
 
 
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
Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
If All the Animals Came Inside by Eric Pinder
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae
The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom

Songs and Fingerplays
The Jungle Room (Imagination Movers)
Download the song here

5 Little Elephants
One elephant went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day.
He had such enormous fun,
He called for another elephant to come… “Oh, ELEPHANT!”


(repeat up until 5 elephants)

Five elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day.
The web went creak, the web went crack.
And all of the elephants went KERSPLAT!


The Itsy Bitsy Monkey (Itsy Bitsy Spider tune)
The itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the coconut tree
Down came a coconut and hit him on his knee
Ouch!
Out came a lion shaking his mighty mane
And the itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the tree again
  
 
 
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!
 



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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The "Idiot" at the Craft Fair: How Do You Know When to Step In?

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I was with my two youngest (8 & 2) at a local craft fair a few weekends ago. We were eating some snacks and sharing a table with a lady and her granddaughter. While we were sitting there, I overheard the lady being quite short and rude with the little girl several times. Yet, she'd been perfectly civil with me in asking about other craft fairs in the area.  But I decided to give her some grace and compassion... Maybe she was tired. Maybe she got wrangled into babysitting when she'd actually planned to attend the craft fair alone.  Maybe she was a grandparent who was surprised into raising her granddaughter.  I honestly wasn't trying to judge.  Usually, in situations like these, I try to empathize with the struggling caregiver. On more than one occasion, I've shared a lighthearted comment with moms at the grocery store who are trying to maintain their composure when their children have none.  Heck, I've been *that* mom....
 
But as we got up to leave, the lady went to take a drink of her water and spilled it down her front. Then she turned to the little girl and hissed "Idiot." I watched this little girl shrink... It broke my heart. The lady accused the little girl of loosening the cap of her water. (I'm still struggling to understand what that has to do with her spillage.) I. Lost. My. Shit.
 
My son (8 years old) looked at me with that "What are you going to do about it?" look that kids have when they witness a perceived injustice.  This woman's reaction to her own minor accident was to accuse a 10 year old child and call her names to make her feel bad.  That is the definition of bullying... if not verbal/emotional abuse.
 
In a split second, I remembered what I've always told my kids about bullies....
 
If you see someone being bullied, it's our duty to step in for the victim.  Because we'd want someone to do the same for us.
 
And I knew that I had the choice to ignore the situation as a private caregiver/child interaction or to actually walk the walk and do what I've preached should be done.  I was standing.  I was angry. I was loud.
 
I told the woman that it was absolutely inappropriate to call a child an idiot. Her response? "Well then, I'll just call you an idiot." I told her that was fine, but calling a child a name like that is reprehensible. If she'll do that in public, what is she say to the child at home? I let the little girl know that she didn't deserve to be talked to like that. That she was a smart little girl.
 
I was so angry.... We had more words. I raised my voice because, I'll admit, I wanted to embarrass this woman. Others around us had heard it all and were cautiously watching our interaction.  I got several nods and what I interpreted as approving looks.  As we were walking away, she began talking to the little girl in a calm voice.  But I was shaking.... Did I do the right thing? Should I have kept my mouth shut? Did I make things even worse for this little girl when they got home?
 
So I've got to ask... I think of situations like the one in Texas where a man had his daughter's hair wrapped around the shopping cart handle and was dragging her tearful little self through the store.  A bystander stepped in and called police. When you see a parent/caregiver handling a child in a questionable way,
How do you know when to step in?
 
We've become desensitized to so much in our society. We're so big on "different things work for different families" and supporting parents' rights in regards to how they choose to parent their families.  But at what cost?

I don't know that I did the right thing.  Maybe I went too far.  Maybe I made things worse for the child.  But, maybe... just maybe I was a voice of reassurance to that little girl.  That it did some small bit of good in her little world to have someone stand up for her.  I'll never know.  But the look on her face will haunt me for some time...

I'm anxious to know if anyone has ever experienced anything like this.... Did you step in? Walk away? How did you know when to interject yourself into another family's business? They say it takes a village to raise a child. But how do we know when to act as members of the village or as just tourists in someone's private life?
 



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