## Friday, August 17, 2012

### Beyond Picture Books: Longer Real-Alouds for Preschoolers

My kids still love picture books.  Picture books have wonderful illustrations to explore and discuss, rhymes that are terrific for phonemic awareness, and they are just fun to read together, especially when you only have time (or patience) for a couple minutes of reading.  My girls (who just turned 3), however, have started begging for more and more stories and I found myself reading as many as 30 picture books to them every day (we usually read 4 times a day, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour!).  So I found some longer books to read aloud to them....

## Wednesday, August 15, 2012

### Tricycle Reading Game

For the twins' 3rd birthdays, they each received adorable tricycles from my parents.  They've been happily riding them in a loop through the living room and kitchen every day (and are getting fantastically good at turning the tight corners!).  Since the girls (especially L) are demonstrating a 'sweet spot' for phonics at the moment, I reinforced what we've been learning by creating this game for them...

## Tuesday, August 14, 2012

### Grocery Store Dramatic Play

I introduced L and E (3 years old) to money recently.  They already knew the concept of money (taking it to the bank, buying stuff, etc..), but were not familiar with the coins and their values.  I promised them that they could use their plastic play money to play 'Grocery Store', so that is the first thing they asked for the next morning, even before breakfast.  It was really simple to set up, and they've been requesting the 'Grocery Store Game' all week...

## Monday, August 13, 2012

### Preschool Math: Comparing Quantities with the Crocodile Game

Nearly every person I know was taught the 'greater than' and 'less than' symbols as crocodile mouths (the crocodile wants to eat the larger quantity).  Here's a fun game that I put together for my preschoolers (L and E just turned 3) to teach the concept of comparing quantities.  I put magnets on the backs of number tiles a couple weeks ago and we've using them for many fun math activities on our magnet board, but I always seem to forget to take pictures.  For this game, the magnetic backs are not really necessary, and you could even play with cards that have numbers on them (like Uno).  Here are the rules of this simple math game...

## Sunday, August 12, 2012

### Preschool Science: Learning about Air

A couple days ago, the girls (3 years old) and I did some science experiments to learn about the properties of air.  They were inspired by both Building Foundations for Scientific Understanding (BFSU) and the book Science in Seconds for Kids by Jean Potter (which contains over 100 experiments that have very little setup time).  Here are the four experiments we did...

### Leaping Frogs Homemade Reading Game

I've been following the phonics reading method described in Teach Your Child to Read in Just 10 Minutes a Day by Sidney Ledson.  I was terrified to hear that schools now take the 'whole word' approach to reading - which is basically teaching kids to memorize sight words rather than decode words using letter sounds.  I know that when adults read, they don't sound out each word, but rather identify it from memory, but I'd rather give my kids the foundations to understand the mechanics of words.  I noticed that when I let the girls watch the Meet the Sight Words DVDs, they learned nearly 50 words very quickly and could soon 'read' sentences, but if they forgot a word (or came to a word they hadn't learned) they guessed what it was (with the guess usually not resembling the correct word at all), which means they were not really reading.  I'm very happy with the phonics approach we're doing now, and the girls (3 years old) are progressing marvelously.  Here's a game I made that followed Sidney Ledson's 'block game', or 'train game', but uses frogs instead...