I-Spy ABC Bottle For Alphabet Fun

This post has been sponsored by Amazon Studios.

I love when things in our daily life inspire our crafting time. This week, the Amazon Original Kids’ Series show, Stinky & Dirty, inspired us to make a fun craft using an empty water bottle. In this series, dynamic duo Stinky, the garbage truck, and Dirty, the backhoe loader, enjoy everyday adventures that prove how resourcefulness and teamwork can solve just about any problem. I love that they give kids ideas for reusing things instead of throwing them away.

There are so many things you can make with an empty water bottle but my boys and I used it to make spelling practice more fun by turning it into a game. We created an I-SPY ABC bottle!

This craft is super easy to do and fun for kids to help make.

1) Make sure your water bottle is dry inside and take off the outside wrapper.

2) Fill the bottle a quarter full with rice.

3) Add in half of the beads.

4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your water bottle is 3/4 of the way full.

5) At this point you can super glue the lid on if you feel your children may open it, otherwise just put the lid on tightly. Then, have children shake the water bottle to mix the rice and beads.

There are a number of ways to use this I-SPY bottle: For younger children you can have them find certain letters by saying the letter you want them to find, say the sound the letter you want them to find makes or have them name letters and sounds as they find them. Older kids can be asked to find the letters that spell words. Children can also find a letter in the ABC I-Spy bottle and then find something in the room that starts with the letter.

Do your children love using their imaginations? If so, you’ll definitely want to watch Stinky & Dirty with them! It’s now streaming with Prime on Amazon Video. Watch an episode with your child and encourage them to use problem solving skills to turn trash into treasure to solve a problem! I’d love to see what they are inspired to create! Tag me on social media (@aliciamarie112 on Twitter and Making Time For Mommy on Facebook) and share with the hashtag #StinkyAndDirty :)

GeoSafari Jr. Animal Eye Viewers For Kids {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a set of Animal Eye Viewers to review. All thoughts are my own.)

Have a child who is really into animals? Or maybe one who wants to know everything about everything? If so, they will love GeoSafari Jr.’s Animal Eye Viewers from Educational Insights!

These viewers let them see the world through an animal’s eyes. Three viewers come in the box: shark, insect, and a chameleon.

Did you know that sharks can see what’s behind them? Your child can get a 360 degree view with rear-view mirrors, central blind spot, and an ocean-blue tint! They will think they are swimming in the ocean.

Did you know that instects can detect movement faster than we can? Your child will see dozens of mini-images with this pixelated view of the world. For even more fun, have them run around “bzzzz”ing like a bee!

Did you know that chameleons can look in two different directions at once? Your child can look through the viewers that have two independently rotating eyeballs.

The shark was Jacob’s favorite animal eye viewer. He had a lot of fun walking around outside while looking through them and was looking at everything up close. He even wore them to the school bus to show his bus driver because he thought they were so cool!

Want to find more fun ways to use the viewers? Download free play-and-learn activities online.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a set of 3 Animal Eye Viewers courtesy of Educational Insights

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which animal you think your child/grandchild would like the most

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends October 20, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over to enter. Open to US and Canadian residents.

Reusing Items For Learning Fun

I talked last month about Unilever and their commitment to donating meals to those in need. I found out that this was just a part of their sustainable living plan. They are also working on improving health and well-being, enhancing livelihoods, and reducing environmental impact. They are working towards a goal of 100% renewable energy. I think that the work this company is doing is amazing and it makes me want to work harder at reducing my own environmental impact. Wondering which of your favorite brands are made by Unilever? Take a look below!

I went shopping and bought some Bertolli meals and some Lipton Iced Tea. I love the Bertolli meals because they are easy to make and taste delicious. Here was last night’s dinner:

Jacob is not a huge potato fan but he loved the potatoes in this meal because of the sauce they were in. After dinner I wanted to find a use for the Lipton Iced Tea bottles. We recycle some items into a recycling bin but lately I’ve been trying to create more with “trash” and save what I can to reuse. My favorite way to do this is by incorporating them into learning for my preschoolers.

When I taught preschool I had some “sensory bottles” in my classroom. They were fun to shake and look at for the children and I wanted to make them with my own kids.

I used the Lipton Tea bottles that were empty and instead of throwing them away I reused them for this fun activity. First, I rinsed them clean and let them dry. Once that was done I called the boys to the kitchen table and we got to work. I had decided we would make two different types of bottles. The first we made was a “find and seek” bottle.

I filled a bottle halfway with rice and put some letter beads out on the table. I then called out letters and the boys would have to find that letter and put it in the bottle. They thought this was a lot of fun and they liked helping mommy.

After all the beads were in we added more rice. We filled up the bottle but left a little empty space at the top so that the rice and letters inside could move around. A little tacky glue in the cap to ensure we wouldn’t have a huge mess on our hands if one of them got it open and we were done with our first bottle. The boys liked shaking it up to find all of the letters in their names.

Next, we made some water filled sensory bottles. You can fill these with anything you’d like but we chose sequins and glitter and then added a few drops of food coloring in the water.

I let the boys put their own sequins in their bottles {warning: little hands putting little pieces into little bottles makes a huge mess}. They worked at this diligently for a while since they could only get a few pieces in at a time. I then helped them sprinkle glitter into their bottles and we filled them with water. I let them pick out the color they wanted to make their water and squeezed the food coloring in. I added a bit too much to Jacob’s and his turned a very dark shade of green. Lucas wanted red so I just added a few drops in his. I also added a little dish soap to put some bubbles in it.

The last one we made I decided to do half oil and half water. I put in some vegetable oil, a little glitter, and some drops of food coloring. The boys watched as the food coloring didn’t spread, like it had in the water, but instead created tiny beads of color. I think a full bottle of vegetable oil would have been a lot of fun. I added water and the colors bled together though it was still fun to watch the water and oil separate.

The boys enjoyed putting these sensory bottles together and then playing with them. I’m looking forward to creating more crafts with them using recycled materials. Someone suggested making a planter out of a Country Crock tub and I think the boys and I might do that as the weather gets warmer.

How do you reuse items for learning fun?

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Unilever  #cbias #SocialFabric )

What Learning Resources Do You Use?

In a few weeks I will be doing a series of posts on the subject of children and learning. In these posts I will be introducing some online resources that I love, along with some learning tools from CSN websites (who, in addition to toys, carry everything from sofas to clothing).

As I prepare for the series I was wondering: what resources have you, my fellow parents, used to find great learning ideas for your children? I am always looking for new tools for my teaching “toolbox”. Can’t wait to explore the sites you share and it should be noted that I will give linky love to anyone that shares a resource with me that I have never used before. Thanks in advance! :)

(Disclosure: I will be receiving an item from CSN websites to review in one of my future posts.)

Tot School- Love (2/15-2/19)

Since Valentine’s Day is today (the 14th) I decided to focus on the theme of LOVE for the week after the Holiday.

Activities:

*Color the snow- put some red food coloring in a spray bottle of water and spray the snow to color it

* Heart path- Hearts taped to ground, jump from heart to heart

* Make Valentine’s Cupcakes

* Make Jello Jigglers

* Gather all heart shaped toys and count them into a red valentine’s basket

* Play with red playdough- make a heart shape

Crafts:

*Potato Heart Stamp Project from Elise Blaha (found on Cafe Mom)

*Decorate a construction paper heart with glitter, crayons, and stickers

* Handprint Valentine w/ words “I love you this much” in between hands

* Love Collage- pictures of people Jacob loves glued on paper

* “Things I Love Book” (idea found here at Creative Homemaking)

* Love Bugs (from Just For Fun)

* Popsicle Stick Picture Frame decorated with hearts and will put picture of family in it

* Kissing Hand Necklace (idea from No Time For Flashcards). As a working mom I love the idea of this necklace. The Kissing Hand is a great book. I own it but it is currently in storage with the rest of my preschool books.

Songs:

* “I Love You” (The Barney Song)

* If You Love Me (to the tune of: If You’re happy and you know it)

* Jesus Loves Me

Board Books:

* I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak

* Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse

* Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

* I Love You Very by Flavia Weedn and Lisa Weedn

* Daddy Kisses by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben

* Max’s Valentine by Rosemary Wells

* Hugs and Kisses by Roberta Grobel Intrater

and a variety of other small books about love

 

Find my winter themed lesson plan here.

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FIND MORE TOT SCHOOL CURRICULUM THEMES HERE:

http://www.makingtimeformommy.com/lesson-plans-for-toddlers-preschoolers/

Tot School Review- Winter Wrap Up

Today was the first week of tot school. It didn’t go quite as I would have liked it to because I found that though I had a list of activities for Jacob to do I needed a lot more time to prepare each night. From now on I will have all of the activities and materials ready at the beginning of the week so that I don’t have to worry about the “lesson plan” the night before.

Below are some pictures of this week’s fun:

Snow Fun

Snowflake Art

Fingerpainting

Jacob's First Art Project w/ Glue

Jacob's First Time Using Scissors

Tot School- Winter

This week’s theme is: Winter

Here are a few of the activities that I have planned:

* Bring the snow indoors- It is supposed to snow tomorrow so we will be bringing snow into the house. We will use a bucket to fill the sink up and sand toys to play in it.

* Coloring a snowman printout from Confessions of A Homeschooler

* Song- “I’m a Little Ice Cube” from A to Z Kids Stuff website

* Chalk winter themed picture- Use white chalk on a blue piece of paper

* Cutting practice sheets from Confessions of A Homeschooler

* Winter themed board books

* Snowman Craft- gluing cottonballs onto a snowman shape

* Play with white playdough

* Footprint snowman from PreschoolLearningandCrafts.com

 

Looking for Valentine’s Day themed ideas? Find my Valentine’s Day lesson plan here.

******

FIND MORE TOT SCHOOL CURRICULUM THEMES HERE:

http://www.makingtimeformommy.com/lesson-plans-for-toddlers-preschoolers/

 

Toddler Time- Structure

This past weekend I spent a lot of time daydreaming about what I wanted for my toddler, Jacob. I had been thinking lately that I really wanted him to have more structured time and guided play and less free play. I will be creating “lesson plans” each week. There will still be a large amount of free play but I think these additional activities will be wonderful for him.

I have spent hours tonight online looking at different sites (mostly homeschool sites and preschool lesson plan sites) and also have years of experience working with young children so I am very excited about all the fun that Jacob is going to have each week.

I came across something called “tot school” on http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com and I love the idea of it so I will be participating and linking up. The main point of tot school is that it is FUN for the child. I truly believe that children learn through play.