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.

_MG_1697

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.

_MG_1709

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

_MG_1717

_MG_1704

Can't forget the decorating!

_MG_1702

_MG_1718

_MG_1725

_MG_1727

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

_MG_1728

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...

_MG_1644
Flashcards are from here and here, all printables courtesy of Bitty Beginnings.

A closer look at her activities...

_MG_1631

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

_MG_1665

Matching...

_MG_1669

We used "diamonds" to make the Letter E. 

_MG_1691

She loves gluing her letter puzzles!

_MG_1682

Tracing her letters and working on shapes.

_MG_1683

_MG_1685

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.

_MG_1686

_MG_1688

She was fascinated using glitter for her letter craft! 

_MG_1693

_MG_1694

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.

_MG_1670

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

_MG_1672

This shape puzzle is a favorite.

_MG_1657

Worked on an animal puzzle identifying the animals...

_MG_1652

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!

_MG_1668

And, lots of bead lacing.

_MG_1650

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!

Freebie Friday: Letter E | Sensory Look & Find

Friday, November 20, 2015

This week, I'm sharing another fun activity from Bitty Beginnings' Alphabet Letter Learning Pack Collection, FREE Letter E | Sensory Look & Find!  

The Look & Find activity mat comes in two color options along with a separate sheet of Look & Find pieces.  The pieces can be placed in any sensory material such as: colored pasta, rice, lentils, kinetic sand, or pom poms to name a few and can also be used in other creative ways to cater to the interests of your child.  This is great to encourage children to match, identify various colors and sizes, work on letter recognition and become familiar with various textures. 

You can find more Bitty Beginnings products here, on sale until November 30th!

Click the image to download. 

Preschool | Thanksgiving Theme

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Summer is 39.5 months old.

I was really excited to do a Thanksgiving theme with Summer.  It's always been one of those holidays that catches me off guard and slips away.  However, I was determined this time around, keeping the activities simple, which worked out well for our unusually busy week. 

Here's our set-up...

_MG_1574

A closer look at the activities...

_MG_1571
Top Left: Acorn Transfer | Top Middle: Turkey Alphabet Match | Top Right: Shadow Matching
Bottom Left: Table Setting | Bottom Middle: Shape Matching | Bottom Right: Turkey Number Match

She always seems to enjoy transferring activities.  This was just a simple acorn transfer with tongs.

_MG_1586

Shape identification and matching...

_MG_1587

We used several printables from this Thanksgiving pack including shadow matching...

_MG_1591

Sequencing...

_MG_1600

Tracing...

_MG_1603

And, lego matching which I thought she would love.  While we worked together on a few, she was more interested in making tall towers and trains. :-)

_MG_1593

_MG_1582

I made this puzzle using this printable to help with number identification. 

_MG_1590

Topping the pie...she loved telling me the number and wanted us to take turns adding the "whipped cream."

Freebie Friday: Apple & Alligator Shape Matching

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Friday! 

Today, we are sharing FREE Apple and Alligator Shape Matching cards from Bitty Beginnings!  This fun, new activity is perfect to go along with the Letter A | Apple & Alligator Alphabet Letter Learning Pack to help introduce your little one(s) to basic shapes. For a detailed look into Bitty Beginnings' Letter A pack and how we used it, click here.

You can browse through the complete collection of Bitty Beginnings' printables on Etsy and take advantage of 50% off your entire order by entering GRANDOPEN50 at checkout, through November 30th.  Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram (@themagnoliabarn) and also with Bitty Beginnings (@bitty.beginnings) for more fun ideas, giveaways, promotions and more!

To download, click the image below.

Letter D | Dog, Dinosaur & Doughnut + Giveaway

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Summer is 39 months old.

This week, we picked back up with our letter of the week focus to learn all about Letter D.  It was a full week of activities and lots of pretend play.

Here's a look at our set-up. 

_MG_1472
Top Left: Pom Pom Color Dinosaur | Top Middle: Shape Bingo | Top Right: Themed Pattern Blocks
Bottom Left: Alphabet Bone Hunt | Bottom Middle: Playdough Mat | Bottom Right: Donut Matching

Our base program from Bitty Beginnings on Etsy is always my starting point. Then, I expand upon the theme based on Summer's interests and additional skills I wish for her to work on.  You can grab these printables in the Bitty Beginnings shop and take 50% off your entire purchase until November 30th!

I hid her look and find pieces in kinetic sand which is so cool, she then used a paintbrush to "excavate" the pieces.

_MG_1522

We worked on shadow matching letter puzzles.

_MG_1533

Practiced her letters in purple salt...

_MG_1540

Summer loves stickers!  She got these as a gift and used them to decorate her Letter D.

_MG_1530

Matching games are another favorite! We take turns laying down a card and the other person finishes the match.

_MG_1549

She switched things up on me this week and wanted to circle her letters with a highlighter.

_MG_1547

We made dog collars for her puppies using pipe cleaners, beads and these letter bracelets.

_MG_1541

_MG_1542

And, these letter crowns. You can download a free set here.

_MG_1508

_MG_1511

We worked on patterns.

_MG_1531

We used several printables from the Dog Preschool Pack from Homeschool Creations, such as color matching...

_MG_1523

Spotting the difference in each row...

_MG_1526

And, size sorting...

_MG_1525

She's still really into cutting activities and does pretty good with control.  I do help hold the paper and she occasionally needs a reminder not to chop.

_MG_1529

This week, she was actually interested in pattern blocks and worked on several activities from here.

_MG_1486


_MG_1490

Donut painting with puffy paint...

_MG_1537

And, lots of pretend play.  We used a cardboard box to make a doghouse.  She loved this!

_MG_1497

_MG_1499

We also used an empty corner in our room to create a dinosaur land, with a few faux trees and dinosaur figurines.  This provided hours of fun!

_MG_1456

_MG_1468

_MG_1482
Now for the Giveaway!

Jen from Bitty Beginnings is offering one of my readers a chance to win her Letter Dd | 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!