Letter F | Frog, Fudgsicle & Flower + Giveaway

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Summer is 42 months old.

After taking several weeks off from school-related activities over Christmas, we are finally easing back into a routine with our letter of the week activities.  We picked back up with Letter F and I love seeing Summer's excitement and enthusiasm to learn.  She loves having something to call her own and I enjoy watching her grow and advance over the weeks.   

Our set-up... 


On our first day, she ran straight for the colander activity.  She fed pipe cleaners into the holes to make many different funny designs.



We used several of our Bitty Beginnings printables, like dot painting...


Two-part matching puzzles, free set here...


Pre-writing practice...


And, sticker fun...she loved this!


I know I say this a lot, but Summer loves any activity that requires scissors.  This week, I let her do this cut and paste activity completely solo--on standby if needed.  She did fabulous and was so proud of her work, immediately running over to show Daddy! 


Same deal with her letter crown, though I helped with shapes and tricky parts.



She made letter bracelets for the two of us and LOVED these clip cards from Homeschool Creations!



Went on a letter hunt...


Played with the cutest puzzle...


And, worked on letter identification with this adorable mat.


We finished the week with a fun sensory bin we created together.




And, painted a frog by request.


Now for the Giveaway!

Jen from Bitty Beginnings is offering one of my readers a chance to win her Letter F | Alphabet Letter Learning Pack filled with 12+ activities!  The pack includes the option to print certain activities in either pink/purple or green/blue depending on your child and she details how to prep each activity along with fun ways to play.  Keep checking back for more opportunities to win each week as I share each letter!

Freebie Friday: Letter F | Two-Part Puzzles

Friday, February 05, 2016

Welcome back to Freebie Friday! 

Today, I'm sharing FREE Letter F Two-Part Puzzles from Bitty Beginning's Letter F Alphabet Learning Learning Pack!

Included are several theme-related images--a frog, flower and fudgsicle, along with several Letter F letter puzzles. These colorful two-part cards are perfect for practicing matching, letter recognition, uppercase/lowercase and can be extended in so many ways to practice colors and even directions as in left or right. 

Browse the entire Bitty Beginnings' A-Z Alphabet Letter Learning collection by visiting the Bitty Beginnings shop on Etsy and now on Teacher's Pay Teachers!  Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram (@themagnoliabarn) and also with Jen (@bitty.beginnings) for more fun ideas, giveaways, promotions and more!

Click the image to download.

Preschool | Winter Theme

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Summer is 42 months old.

Summer loves snow!  She was excited this past weekend to wake up to a fair amount of it, so in celebration I put together a few activities with winter in mind.

Here's a look at our set-up...


And, a closer look at the activities.

Top Left: Counting/Transferring | Top Middle: Alphabet Puzzle | Top Right: Pattern Block Snowflake
Bottom Left: Shape/Color Puzzle | Bottom Middle: Name Recognition | Bottom Right: Scissor Practice

My main goal this week was to focus on letter recognition with Summer.  We played different games and she loved it!


We also practiced spelling her name.  This was a favorite!


Shape and color recognition...


Summer loves scissor practice and she does really well with control.


I should have made this activity a little more challenging.  The muffin tin had numbers in each cup from 1-6.  The idea was to transfer that particular number of "ice" into each cup.  Next time, I'll be using larger numbers. ;-)


She made snowflake patterns using these worksheets.


And lots of free play, though she preferred the less messy activities.

Second Grade: Mid-Year Changes

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We are now half-way through Abby's second grade year and I wanted to share some changes we've made to her curriculum.  First, let me be honest and say that I love researching curriculum!  I spend an embarrassing amount of time every week browsing different subjects looking for new, exciting material that might interest her. 

ABBY 2015

If you're interested in viewing our original plan, you can read full details here. To simplify our year, we cut a majority of "extras" that we had either completed or decided to discontinue.

What We Kept

-All About Reading: Level 3--We are about a 1/4 of the way through and I'm happy with how she is progressing.  At the beginning, I drove myself crazy keeping our subjects between 15-20 minutes.  While I agree with short lessons, I wasn't as organized as I should have been and we were drawing out lessons way too long.  Now, we have a more streamlined system.  Lessons are still short, but I'm much more prepared each day which has allowed us to pick up speed and move at Abby's pace more efficiently.

-All About Spelling: Level 2--She is 1 lesson away from being finished with this level.  I am going back and forth on whether to begin the next level this year or wait until her third grade year.

-Classic Literature Read Alouds--This year we have read Black Beauty, Stuart Little, A Little Princess, Charlotte's Web and currently reading The Jungle Book.  I plan to finish our year with Understood Betsy, Five Children and It and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

-Print to Cursive Proverbs--This is the perfect amount of copywork for Abby and I like that it alternates between print one day and cursive the next.  She will be finished with these in the next few weeks.

-Story of the World and Simply Charlotte Mason: Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt--We both love history so this has been a fun way to introduce her to both world history and Bible history.

New Additions

-Life of Fred Beginning Math Sets--These are AWESOME and Abby loves them!  We have finished Apples and halfway through Butterflies.  We kick start each school day with a chapter from Life of Fred!

-Mathematical Reasoning: Level C--These are colorful worksheets, that focus on critical thinking with a variety of fun activities.

-Horizons Math: 2--Math was one area I wasn't sure of going into the year.  We were using Math-U-See, but I have found that we both prefer a spiral curriculum that moves quicker, yet reviews often.  It works for her.  While she wasn't a complete Abeka fan, she enjoyed Abeka Arithmetic 1 last year.  I wanted to try something new just to see which she would prefer.  What I've noticed so far is while they both have colorful worksheets, Horizons has more problems per section than Abeka did which Abby doesn't care for.  However, she does enjoy the program so we will continue to use it and re-evaluate at the end of the year for third-grade.

-Vocabulary Workshop: Level Red--This is something I've ordered and think she will love. She will learn the definition of words, what context to use them and also complete various activities to practice.

-Language Smarts: Level C--This is also an item I've ordered and think she will enjoy.  We briefly used a grammar curriculum a few times this year, but I wanted something a little more fun.  This will cover many areas of Language Arts and hopefully be a great fit for Abby.

A few more products I'm looking into are Writeshop, Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Science and Life of Fred Beginning Readers, but for now these are the current changes we have made and I love the way our school day flows now.

Christmas Tree Counting Playdough Mat Activity

Monday, December 07, 2015

Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year!  I look forward to slowing down our schedule, spending more quality time with each other and reflecting on the true meaning.  One way I do this is including all my girls in simple, relaxed, open-ended activities like playdough.  Such a simple creation can provide hours of fun, promote lots of creativity and is the perfect activity for their current ages (7, 3, 1). 

I asked my friend, Jen from Bitty Beginnings, to create a fun, Christmas-themed playdough mat activity that not only promotes learning, but also caters to my girls' creativity.  I put together a tray of pine scented playdough, with a touch of cinnamon, peppermint and orange which was a lovely combination along with a few items like pinecones, cranberries, rhinestones and a tree-shaped cookie cutter for the girls to explore.


Then, I introduced the playdough activity printable, you can download a free set here.  This adorable mat is simple, but allows for a little one's imagination to run wild.  The idea is to 'help Fox gather Christmas trees for his friends to decorate, but the problem is they are so heavy and he will need help in gathering a specific number of trees.  A number card is placed on the mat and from there, tree creation can begin followed by lots and lots of decorating.


Summer loved to roll out balls of dough for their trees.



Can't forget the decorating!





We added sparkly stars and a bit of fluffy snow from the craft store to our scene for an extra touch. 


Simple, fun and endless possibilities. 

See more fun ideas below,Merry Christmas!

Christmas Little Ones Blog Hop

Freebie Friday: Birds Learning Pack

Friday, November 27, 2015

This week, I'm sharing a sample from Bitty Beginnings' Birds Learning Pack!

 Included are two 1-10 Number Puzzles with adorable clipart along with a Puzzle Mat perfect to encourage little ones to match and identify numbers, as well as, reinforcing 1-10 number order. 

Also included is a sheet of 123 Peg It Number Cards.  These are fun to encourage counting, number identification and fine motor skills as your little one uses a clothespin, pom pom or various manipulatives to "peg" the number. 

You can find the complete Birds Learning Pack by visiting Bitty Beginnings on Etsy! 

Click the image to download.
Birds Learning Pack Freebies Cover Image

Letter E | Elephant & Earring + Giveaway

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Summer is 40 months old.

I've been looking forward to our Letter E week from the very beginning.  I knew right off the bat I wanted to take a different approach and incorporate a "dress-up" week with the earring theme.  Summer, just in the last few months, has become obsessed with all things girly!  I knew she would love it.  I pulled most of her dress-up outfits, shoes, jewelry and such to have for pretend play while we did her weekly activities.  She was a pretty happy little girl!

Here's our set-up...

Flashcards are from here and here, all printables courtesy of Bitty Beginnings.

A closer look at her activities...


She dot painted, though she's beginning to lose interest in dot markers.  So we will definitely be changing things up next week!




We used "diamonds" to make the Letter E. 


She loves gluing her letter puzzles!


Tracing her letters and working on shapes.



All my girls LOVED our sensory bin filled with Look & Find pieces!  I used "jewels," "diamonds," "pearls" and several pieces of jewelry.  You can download a free set here.



She was fascinated using glitter for her letter craft! 



Summer requested purple playdough this week and I added a touch of Jasmine oil to perfume it a bit.  Instead of making snakes to form her letters, she wanted to roll bits of playdough into balls.


And, lots of elephants with the playdough cutter.  She thought this was so neat!


This shape puzzle is a favorite.


Worked on an animal puzzle identifying the animals...


We reviewed the letters she's learned up to this point.  This still needs some practice, but she does remember some sounds which is a very good thing!


And, lots of bead lacing.


Now for the Giveaway!

Jen from Bitty Beginnings is offering one of my readers a chance to win her Letter Ee | Alphabet Letter Learning Pack filled with 12+ activities!  The pack includes the option to print certain activities in either pink/purple or green/blue depending on your child and she details how to prep each activity along with fun ways to play.  Keep checking back for more opportunities to win each week as I share each letter!

For a chance to win, simply enter below!