Curly Q Learns the Letter F

This is Curly Q’s first go ’round with the Letter F and we went a little overboard. She really likes learning time and is always eager to move on to the next activity. I just follow her lead and just focus on having her say the letter and pointing to it wherever we see it. This is just an introduction for her so I put very little, if any emphasis on her “getting it right”. For the letter F we just talked about fish and said the letter F a lot. 🙂

We started out with our fish lace card. She looped it through a few times and then made it swim a few laps, saying “shwim shwim shwim!”

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Using our lacing beads I had her build the letter F using my alphabet cards I made. I basically printed out the entire alphabet, lowercase and uppercase, cute out the letters, and then laminated them to a sheet of card stock paper. This is always a fun one for her.

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We did the fish color match game next. She needed a little guidance with this. Not that she didn’t know how to match the colors, she was wanting them to match up perfectly and gave up a few times when they wouldn’t line up.

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We moved on to categorizing our uppercase and lowercase F’s. She had to put all the uppercase F’s in one pile and all of the lowercase F’s in another pile.

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The size sort fish I figured would be a stretch, but I thought I’d see what she’d do with it. We’ve only really talked about big things vs little things, but size progression is new and maybe something we’ll focus on later. This is what she did with them. She just kind of lined them up in no particular order and said, “Yay, I did it!”. I joined in on the festivities and we gave each other a high five! Well done, Curly Q!

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At this point she was ready to do some writing because Little Miss was coloring away on her workbook pages. Here she is scribbling away on her letter F sheet.

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After tracing, I had her do the fish builders activity. For some reason I am missing a yellow fish. She was a little bothered by it at first, but I distracted her by telling her to go show Hollywood how good a job she had done. So off she went to the kitchen to show him her hard work.

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She was gone for a bit.

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I had already set up her next activity by the time she returned. She had taken a detour for some string cheese. Learning can make a little girl hungry! 🙂

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To end our letter F day we did our bean dig. I hide four cards with the letter F and four cards with other uppercase letters in a big bowl of beans and she has to dig them out, separating the letter F’s from the other letters.

1We really had fun with these activities! Curly Q does not do a lot of coloring, so I’m thinking about making her some coloring pages that we can add into the mix.

Check out my resources page to see where we get our learning time materials!

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Workbook Pages and Letter F Review

Little Miss has completed the Letter of the Week curriculum two times through so I’ve decided to supplement her learning with some workbook pages. Since Curly Q was working her way through the Letter F, I did have Little Miss do some Letter F activities as a review.

When I introduce a new Letter to Curly Q, I always have Little Miss practice writing her upper and lowercase letters. Since she started learning time a few years ago, we’ve spent most of our time working on uppercase letters. Lately we’ve been trying to incorporate more lowercase writing. Sorry for the black rectangle, I forgot her name is on her pencil box…whoops!

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I bought this workbook some time ago and some of the pages are a little easy for her, but she still enjoyed them. I really just wanted her to practice following directions with these.

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When we were working on this last sheet, she made me giggle. The directions tell her to color the animals that are IN their houses. By the time she got to the last picture, she was so involved in the coloring process (she loves to color), she ended up coloring all of the horses in the picture. It’s funny how what you really enjoy always seems to come out. I told her “no worries” and we moved on. 🙂

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For our letter F review, I had her do some number corresponding. Sometimes we use manipulatives to match the number of squares with the number of fish. This time, she chose to color in the squares with dry erase marker. Just as an added step, I had her write the number of fish she counted before coloring in the squares.

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We then went over our vocabulary cards. Typically I ask her to come up with some F words on her own first before we break out the cards. Some of the words she comes up with are made up and hilarious. Hey, they all start with the F sound so she’s technically right! 🙂

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We then moved on to her favorite activity; rice digging. For some reason I decided we should do learning time on a table instead of on the floor like we usually do. This decision really dampened the fun part of this for her as I emphasized keeping the rice in the bowl. She really couldn’t dig the way she usually does. Next time, on the floor mom!

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Last, but not least, our sight word cards. We review these every now and then, but I’m thinking that we need to really get into more phonics activities since she is pretty comfortable with the basic alphabet and letter sounds.

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That’s it for the day! Today’s learning time took way longer than our usual 30 or so minutes. We got a little carried away. 🙂

Check out my resources page to see where we get out learning time activities!

F is for Fire Alphabet Craft

It’s raining again and we’re all suffering from cabin fever, so I thought it would be a good time for us to start our alphabet crafts. I’ve been looking everywhere for something that would be simple for the girls to do, but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. My solution? Make them myself!

The only supplies I wanted for this craft were glue, scissors, things to color it with, and the paper itself.  I also wanted the pieces they had to cut out to be basic shapes. We do not cover shapes that much in our “organized” learning time so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do that.

Another thing I wanted to include was for us to work on our sharing. With Little Miss being 5 and Curly Q pretty much 3, there are lots of arguments and lots of not sharing going on. So for this activity I had all three of us (I couldn’t miss out on the action) share one paper plate of paint with the four colors we were using. It went pretty well!

As usual I let the girls pick which letter they wanted to do. Little Miss picked first and she chose F is for Fire. Here’s Curly Q waiting for Little Miss to finish using the scissors. (Yup…we shared those too, but only because we had one pair.)

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After cutting the bottom part out, we used acrylic paints and cotton swabs to paint the logs and the flames. You could use crayons or whatever really. I have tons of acrylic paints so that’s our go to when we need to color anything.

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Then we painted the letter F red! (That looks like Fred.)

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We let those dry for a bit. Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, we just had to make sure that we didn’t have any big globs of paint. Those take a little longer to dry.

After they were dry, we cut out the logs and flames and started pasting them onto our red letter F. For some reason I do not have any bottled glue, so we had to break out the Mod Podge. It worked just fine. I would say that regular bottled glue would have made things a little easier, especially for Curly Q. She didn’t too much care for the glue getting on her fingers.

Here she is putting down her logs!

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And here is Little Miss putting down her flames. She made sure to put them right on the edge so they’d “really look like fire!”

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This is Little Miss’ finished craft!

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And Curly Q’s! Hollywood said that hers looked more like an explosion. 🙂

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We really had fun doing this. I think next time I’ll make sure to have another pair of scissors though.

Want to have a go at it yourself? Download F is for FIRE Printable!

Raising Marigolds

I’ve tried a few times to grow flowering plants with no success. In the past I’ve always purchased the potted flowers that already have bloomed and as soon as I get them home and planted, the flowers disappear and the plant stops growing. I know with more research and time and effort I could probably figure something out, but I am not that patient and don’t have extra time for that.

So this year I decided to start from seed and see how that went. Well, so far it’s been a success. Along with my wildflower pots, I planted one pot with just marigold seeds and they are doing very well!

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Besides planting them in the pot and making sure they are thoroughly watered, I don’t do anything else.

2One thing that I feel has made a huge difference is that I water them with rain water. A few years back our water company had a deal on rain barrels so Hollywood invested in four of them, placing one at each corner of our house. These things always stay full, especially with all of the rain we’ve been getting lately.

If I manage to keep these alive, I’ll definitely plant more pots next spring!

Beginning Math and Counting Review with Little Miss

Our first activity of the day really had nothing to do with math at all. Curly Q learned about the letter C this day and Little Miss wanted to get in on the action too. It only took her a second to finish the lower case lacing card. She even posed for a few pictures for me!

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We started off with her practicing her number writing. We should probably do more practice on these, but we’ll get to that later. She had a bit of trouble with writing on the floor, but she didn’t want to go to the table and I choose my battles wisely…most of the time.

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This next little activity I really liked for the girls. Little Miss loves anything with color and lots of little pieces, so this was right up her alley. All she had to do was put it’s body in number order from 1-20. For some reason there were two heads, so she just stuck one on either end.

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Curly Q wanted in on the action and Little Miss never hesitates to teach her little sister all the things she has learned. Here she is showing her how to count to twenty!

6Our next activity can be done a few ways. We usually take the numbered caterpillar cards and count out the correct number of beans, beads, or whatever we are using for that day. Well I thought it was time for her to do something a little bit more challenging, so I found these numbered craft sticks I made at some point in the past three years and had her match the word to the number.

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She has gotten pretty good at identifying numbers and counting to 100. There are a few kinks we need to smooth out, but nothing to fuss over. With this in mind, I thought we could start doing some adding activities.

This is not her first exposure to addition and subtraction. Throughout our regular day, we often ask her math questions. For example, if you have four pieces of broccoli and you eat two how many do you have left. That sorta thing. Her cotton ball jar that we use to help her make good choices is another way we encourage her to add and subtract. I’m always asking her to tell me how many more she needs to get to ten. Not only does this help her with counting, it also keeps her motivated and focused on making those good choices.

Anyway, back to learning time. These addition sheets come from the Confessions of a Homeschooler K4 curriculum and are great to reuse if you put them in sheet protectors. Little Miss was not content with just circling the correct answers, she wanted to give herself credit for getting them right by adding a check mark next to her answer!

3Even though this was our first time doing these cards, she found them pretty easy to get through. There are other pages that have more difficult problems. I think I may make her some addition pages that require her to use hands on manipulatives. She likes to use those little hands of hers. 🙂

As always, please check out my resources page to see where we get all of our learning time activities!

The Cotton Ball Jar

Little Miss and I both have strong personalities. At times that can pave the way for some conflict that I would much rather avoid. My solution? The Cotton Ball Jar!

I had her color her name on a piece of masking tape and stick it on there so she can have a part in making it. This really helped her get excited about the whole thing. It’s amazing what markers can do.

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It is a very simple award system that has been very helpful at helping Little Miss make better choices. Basically, any time she is spotted making good choices (helping her sister, saying thank you, cleaning up after herself…etc) she gets to add a cotton ball to her jar. Once she gets to 5 cotton balls, she gets a smelly!

What’s a smelly you ask? It involves these.

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She gets to pick which lip balm she wants and smears it on the back of both her hands and her lips if she’s feeling froggy. I try to make sure I get ones that have a really strong smell, otherwise they’re kinda pointless. That orange one always makes me want an orange Cremesicle every time. 🙂

After she reaches 10 cotton balls, she gets to choose a prize. I have about 10 of them printed out and laminated.

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When we first started using the jar, I would leave the card she chose out until all cards had been chosen. That didn’t work out so well, she kinda lost interest at the leftover prizes. Who can blame her, I wouldn’t work that hard to just go to the library either…and I love books.

After she gets a prize we start over again at zero! The thing with this is that I’ve had to be careful about making sure to give her cotton balls when she is making good choices and not just use it as a punishment. Sometimes when she’s having a rough day, I create situations for her to make good choices so she can earn some cotton balls that way.

I also wanted her take on some responsibility so we started having her put her dishes in the sink for breakfast and make sure that Jazz has food and water. This gives her a chance to earn a cotton ball first thing in the morning!

So far this method has worked well. It has helped keep me consistent with how I react to her behavior and she always feels good about herself when she gets to pick a prize. Curly Q loves it too. She gets to reap the benefits without all the work!

Curly Q Learns the Letter C

Today, Curly Q has some fun with her letter C binder and caterpillars! She really moved through these activities, we ended up doing a lot today.

First, we started off with our letter C lacing cards. I first demonstrated to her how to do it. After that, I just let her play around with it. After she got the thread through a couple of holes she yelled, “I did it!” What a cutey.

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These cards are usually used for play dough where she forms the dough into the letter C, but she just wanted to trace it with dry erase marker.  These sheets are laminated so we can reuse them!

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We practiced categorizing small, medium, and large caterpillars. The word “medium” is new to her, so she was very curious about it.

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We used these cards for color matching. One of the colors is maroon and she kept calling it red. I tried to convince her otherwise, but she was not having it. Curly Q-1 Momma-0.

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She wanted to scribble some more. Inadvertently writing a lowercase a instead of a c. 🙂

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She made a fuzzy caterpillar and letter C with her fuzzy magnets.

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I wanted to have her practice more on the shape of the letter C, so we grabbed her hard magnets and had her make magnet letter C’s.

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Last but not least, her letter C match. She really likes finding all of the matching pictures! To be honest, I kinda do too. 🙂4

Check out my resources page to see where I got all of these activities!