Scarecrow Decorates for Fall

image

After a rain induced 2 day sabbatical, Scarecrow has returned to check on the cleanliness of the playroom and to reward tidiness with tidings of Fall decor. Maxwell industrially cleaned up the room this morning to remedy the hot mess he’d left last night. I helped scarecrow decorate during the rare occasion when Patrick actually napped while Maxwell was at his two day a week school.

image

The pumpkin/jack-o-lantern window cling was only a dollar at Target. I plan on having Maxwell and Patrick change the face each day. It’ll be good for Patrick especially to identify facial feature names.

I’m holding a lot of decorations back so that the boys can earn them by taking care of their things and following directions.

More about The Scarecrow in the Yard:
Introducing: The SCARECROW in the Yard

image

Introducing: The SCARECROW in the Yard

imageYou may have heard of The Elf on the Shelf but I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of The Scarecrow in the a Yard. Why haven’t you heard of it?  Probably because I made it up three days ago when I saw a 5ft scarecrow for sale at the craft store for $7.

Who is this mysterious straw stuffed friend?
He was inspired by the character No Noggin from the special Curious George: Halloween Boofest (also on Netflix)-a scarecrow who looses his pumpkin head. Maxwell loooooves this show. So, I knew he’d be totally bumped if we had a scarecrow of our very own. Our Fall Friend Scarecrows(very important to market him as a friendly-not scary – scarecrow) was waiting to meet Maxwell and Patrick right outside their playroom window one morning after I’d told Maxwell I thought I heard a scarecrow outside the night before.

The Scarecrow stays outside all day scaring away crows, but at night when all of the birds are asleep he can come down from his stick!

What can scarecrow do?
1) He watches kids play all day and has fun watching them clean up, share,  and learn.
2) If any toys are left inside at the end of the day he likes to sneak inside at night and take them!
3) When he sees children make happy choices he will get them surprises.
4) He loves Fall and likes to surprise people by decorating their house at night.

Why a Fall Friend Scarecrow?
1) It’s fun.
2) Apparently, the good opinion of a straw stuffed piece of felt holds greater sway over my sons’ actions than does mine. They really wanna impress this guy.
3) He helps me keep the playroom clean by stealing toys.
4) There are so few ways to meaningfully observe Fall in Texas since the two seasons here are Summer (April – September) and slightly less hot summer (October-March).
5) It’s super cheap.
6) It probably creeps out our neighbors to see a scarecrow facing into our house and periodically moving it’s position around our yard. This just makes me chuckle 🙂

I will continue to make updates on new ways Scarecrow interacts with us throughout the Fall. Goodness I love how kids make MY imagination come alive 🙂

Updates:
Scarecrow Decorates for Fall

Great Website with Lots of Songs About Fall and Scarecrows
http://www.preschooleducation.com/sfall.shtml
Before revealing scarecrow each day we sing one of our scarecrow songs.

The Floppy Scarecrow
Sung to: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The Floppy, floppy scarecrow
Guards his fields all day.
He waves his floppy, floppy hands
To scare the crows away!
Repeat and replace Hands with arms, toes, head, legs, etc…

Scarecrow
Sung to: “Teddy Bear, Teddy bear turn around”

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, turn around.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, jump up and down
Scarecrow, scarecrow, arms up high
Scarecrow, Scarecrow, wink one eye
Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend your knee
Scarecrow, scarecrow, flap in the breeze
Scarecrow, scarecrow, climb into bed
Scarecrow, scarecrow, rest your head

I’m a little Scarecrow
Sung to: “I’m a little teapot”

I’m a little scarecrow stuffed with hay.
Here I stand in a field all day.
When I see the crows,
I like to shout
“Hey! You crows, you better get out!”

Fall Songs and Videos

image

September 21st marks the Autumnal Equinox and the first day of Fall.I thought I’d share this unvetted list in case anyone else is also in the beginning stages of planning their Fall playlist. In addition to lots of leaf, apple, and pumpkin activities that I plan on doing throughout the season we’ll be singing lots of Fall songs. I just began my search for songs and videos.

YouTube Videos About Fall and the Seasons
Falling Leaves
Fall and Autumn Counting Song
Sesame Street: Guess the Season Song

Great Website with Lots of Songs About Fall
http://www.preschooleducation.com/sfall.shtml
A selection of the songs I think we’ll try first
The Leaves are falling  “Farmer in the Dell”

The leaves are falling down
The leaves are falling down
Red, yellow, green, and brown
The leaves are falling down

A Squirrel Song
Sung to: “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”

I’ll be gathering all the acorns till they’re gone.
I’ll be gathering all the acorns till they’re gone.
I’ll be gathering all the acorns, gathering all the acorns,
Gathering all the acorns till they’re gone.
(Children make collecting motion with their hands)

And I’ll put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside, put them all inside,
Put them all inside my little home.
(children pretend to place nuts in tree house)

And I’ll eat the nuts until the winter’s gone.
I will eat the nuts until the winter’s gone.
I will eat the nuts until, eat the nuts until,
Eat the nuts until the winter’s gone.
(children pretend to eat acorns)

Then I’ll do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again, do it all again,
Do it all again come next fall.
(children make gathering motion with hands and arms again

Frisky Squirrel
Sung to: “The Grand Old Duke of York”

Oh, the frisky little squirrel
He gathers nuts and seeds.
He hides them for the winter months
So he’ll have all he needs.

Refrain:
Oh, up-up-up he goes
And down-down-down he comes.
He runs around – goes up and down.
His work is never done. (repeat refrain)

Our New Homeschool Routine: The Word of the Week!

image

Reading, writing, letter recognition, phonetics, thematic crafts, and more- yes please. After the unexpected success of number of the day I decided to take the Painter’s Tape to another poster (the high-frequency word poster to be exact) and introduce THE WORD OF THE WEEK (it’s in all caps to emphasize the major hyping up I did to sell this idea to Maxwell).

What does “selling an idea” to a 3 year old look like? Well, the night before I told him his favorite toys were making him a surprise in homeschool – word of the week! Then I made conditions to see it, have to be dressed, follow directions and so on, to make it seem like a privileged for big boys only. Last I just acted really excited about wondering what the word was when we finally got down to it.

What to do with a word of the week:
First, look at the picture and have child attempt to guess by sounding out what letters might be in the word.
Then slowly peel tape, revealing one letter at a time, and check the prediction against actual word.
Cover up the word and have child put the words letters in the correct order. I actually choose to break word up into the sound parts instead of by letter to make it easier for sounding out.

image

Have  child practice writing the word. In addition to exposing Maxwell to high frequency words, working on fine motor skills and writing is my second big motivation for this activity.

image

Identify the word in a book. This is great for helping little ones realize that there are individual words that make up a sentence, a paragraph, a page, and a book.

image

Notice that I’m introducing the words in all lower-case letters instead of all upper case. When reading kids will most often experience all lower-case words and therfore it makes their life easier if you teach them high frequency words in all lower-case

Then depending on the word I will do different thematic activities.
APPLE lends itself to any number of fun Fall crafts and activities.

I’ll be adding our new APPLE related activities throughout the week.

Connecting Homeschool and Schoolschool: Our New School Wall and School Poster Activity

image

Two days of Maxwell’s Mother’s Day Out program are in the books and my little guy is loving sharing with friends, learning new songs, and creating crafts with his teachers.

We still do about 30 minutes of homeschool every morning and 30 minutes after school when Maxwell makes his “school poster” where he dictates to me what he did and learned at school. When the school sends home his work from the week (which is just two days-Tuesday and Thursday). We spend time discussing each item and displaying them on his school wall. I’m still brainstorming ideas for storing the work and posters. He’ll recap everything again for Daddy later on tonight.

Compelling questions and prompts are key to making this a rich activity.
-Tell me about a time you felt funny/happy/sad/proud/excited today
-Describe your lunch for me.
-What did your friends eat?
-Could you sing me a song you sang today?
-What books did you read? Could we act them out?
-Tell me about a time you shared something. How did you feel?

This line of questions will garner richer dialog than the old “How was your day?” Plus, it’ll get them used to telling you about their day in a detailed way that could be helpful if issues at school

More on our first day of Mother’s Day a out on my post Strategies to Increase your little ones Investment and confidence before during and after the first day of school
So happy with first week!

Morning 37: DIY Connect the Dots

image

image

I won’t pretend that this is a unique, difficult, or ingenious idea, but it certainly is easy, versatile, and effective.

Our nursery rhyme today was tea time classic “I’m a Little Teapot”. I’ve been trying to improve Maxwell’s fine motor skills and precision when drawing and this “draw” only on the dots activity hit the mark. Little brother joined in too and I encouraged him to draw outside the teapot and for Maxwell to draw inside the teapot. This avoided a coloring turf battle and reinforced position words.

How to:

  • For easy pictures just draw it with dots and voila.
  • For more complex pictures, draw the image you want with pencil first. Then, draw the dots along the line with a marker then erase the pencil marks.
  • Add numbers to help with drawing direction and counting skills.

Eazy peezy.

Strategies to Build Your Little One’s Confidence and Investment in School Before, During, and After the First Day: Out First Morning of MDO

image

Upon picking up one very joyful and enthusiastic little boy today from the first day of his two day a week Mother’s Day Out (MDO) Program I knew I’d made the right choice in enrolling him. More on that decision making process on my post Choosing to Send My Son to a Two Day a Week MDO In Addition to Homeschooling .

In addition to talking to the teachers and staff about their curriculum, learning methods, songs, books, and language used in the school I wanted to make sure that Maxwell would get the most out of the program by building his confidence and investment.

Below are some of the strategies we used before, during, and after school:

Before School-
1. Attend an open house or at least type the school in advance
2. Let your little one help choose their backpack, lunch box, and nap mat.

image

3. See what the school’s policy is on bringing lovies for nap time and if it’s allowed have them choose one and explain to the toy what school will be like.
4. >Featured Activity < The morning of school we made a poster and recorded what Maxwell was most excited about and then I told him to be ready to tell me what he liked most when I pick him up. This really did an amazing job of avoiding the all to common exchange of “how was school” answered shortly with “it was fine.”

image

image

image

During school-
1. Prepare a special treat to be waiting for them in their car seat to celebrate their successful first day of school. Nothing too big, I just got him a special rare juice treat.

image

2. Breath, remind yourself they’ll be fine, and keep yourself busy to avoid going to back to the school and picking them up early. If I hadn’t been a prek teacher myself I wouldn’t have believed it, but really, they do have fun once the parents leave.
3. Use this time to create things for homeschool or dishes and laundry there’s always plenty of those to go around.

After school-
1. Complete the first day of school poster.
2. After the first day, have a regular part of your day be your child teaching you, their toys, their siblings what they learned that day.
3. Draw pictures of specific aspects of school- a friend, a toy, something they learned, something they ate and have them dictate what their drawing is about.

image

image

4. Make a “school wall/board” to showcase their school artwork, calendars, and reflections.
5. Make their day the center of that night’s dinner table conversation. It’s an important day for them.

Have compelling conversation starters:
-Tell me about a time you felt funny/happy/sad/proud/excited today
-Describe your lunch for me.
-What did your friends eat?
-Could you sing me a song you sang today?
-What books did you read? Could we act them out?
-Tell me about a time you shared something. How did you feel?This line of questions will garner richer dialog than the old “How was your day?” Plus, it’ll get them used to telling you about their day in a detailed way that could be helpful if issues at school ever arise.



If you’ve ever Googled or Pintrested (yeah I know

that’s not really a word) the phrase “first day of school” you know that there is an unlimited number of resources out there. These are a few simple ones that work for us.

Back to School Resources:

image

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
This book is great for any parent child separation and has a million cute activities you can support it with. I actually read this book on the first day of school when I taught before having kids as well.

image

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Season 1 Eposide 3: Daniel’s Babysitter/ Daniel Goes to School
Also, great for any parent child separation. I have Maxwell watch this any time we’re going on a date night, a meeting, or even just a yoga class at the Y. The song is everything.
“GrooownUPS Come back!”

image

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Very sweet little book about three owls that have to be brave while their mother is gone hunting for good. I have said “be brave like owl babies” countless times because of this book.

Happy back to school everyone 🙂