Thursday, December 28, 2017

Mother Goose Time and the NICU

On December 1, 2017 at 1:35 in the afternoon, my husband and I welcomed our newest addition to our family, a baby boy we named Everett Ryan.

Everett was due on Christmas Eve; however, he had decided to grace the world with his presence at 36 weeks and 5 days.  He was 6 pounds 7 oz and 20 inches long, and I can't imagine how much bigger he would be with an additional 3 weeks. I never would have thought we would end up in the NICU, but we did when his blood sugar count came back at a 15 (avg 40-60) and he immediately was whisked into the NICU while I was wheeled to my room and forced to wait.

17 days.
17 days we were in the NICU.

I need to write a whole post or more on our stay in the NICU, but this post is about how 
Mother Goose Time created some normalcy for my family when nothing was normal at all.

With Everett and I in the NICU, it was Daddy and MGT to the rescue for our girl.  Due to our situation, Jason requested paternity leave for the month of December and was approved.  
Praise the Lord!

I showed Jason the teacher guides and the daily discovery bags and told him to just pick one that looked interesting for them to do together.  So he did.

We could only visit Everett every 3 hours- on the 3 o'clocks, 6, 9 and 12.  In between I would pump, eat, and try to visit Jason and Avaleigh.  Sometimes, I would make it home, set up MGT for Daddy and then leave again.  

I was able to catch them in action when I came home one morning and snapped this pic above.
They built an igloo here for one of her little bird toys using our cube manipulatives from the 

They made snowflakes, practiced tracing her name with glue and a paintbrush, used glitter (that's true love right there! Jason hates glitter), built igloos, played games and puzzles, and of course read many, many books.  Jason would take pictures of their learning and send them to me throughout the day.

MGT made it so easy to pull a bag, set up the activities, and leave to go back to the hospital for me.  All the while, creating simple opportunities for my husband to continue fostering Avaleigh's learning, and giving them activities to have fun together and keep her everyday pretty normal.

As chaotic as our December was, Mother Goose Time made our month manageable, provided memory making opportunities for my husband and little girl, and kept a sense of normalcy to our crazy days.

This little school bus box is more then just preschool curriculum-
it's a lifesaver for days you barely know how to survive.

Avaleigh and Everett holding hands Christmas morning 2017.

Monday, November 27, 2017

I Can Read: Creating Sentences

My girl loves to read.
If you decide to sit on the floor, she will find you, crawl into your lap and ask to read a book.
Each month we get one of these I Can Read books from Mother Goose Time.
I have been trying to find more ways to use it than just for reading, though.
MGT sends arrows and rectangles with the sight words on it along with 6 pictures of real images of certain things discussed in the book.
I made the rectangles and pictures interactive by adding magnetic tape to the back which you can read about here.

Sweet Pea likes to match the arrows to the correct words in the book.
But the challenge has been:
What do I do with these magnetic words and pictures?

As we read the book, I noticed I had many of those same magnetic sight words created.
Then the thought came that we should build sentences!
Match the words from the book and build a sentence!

I placed the book on the floor and Sweet Pea could match the magnetic words 
to the ones in the book.  When we saw a word that we could use a picture, we did that, 
like jaguar or monkey.

Point and read.

By collecting these words from month to month and making them magnetic with a little magnetic tape, we will be able to build a wide assortment of sentences throughout the year!

So save those words each month!
Build yourself a collection and a center and start creating matching sentences to some of your favorite stories!

An Upside Down Day: Understanding Sloths

We are wrapping up our Rain forest Adventure unit from Mother Goose Time this week.
Today we studied sloths.
Our MGT starts the same everyday:
Calendar (practicing counting to 30!)
Day of the week word matching
Topic Poster (sloth)
Find the topic in our theme poster (if applicable)
Read the book of the day

Today's book is by Eric Carle:

It didn't take Sweet Pea long to start reciting with me some of the repeated words from the story, "Slowly, slowly, slowly, the sloth..."
By the end of the book, Sweet Pea knew 2 main attributes of sloths:
- They are slow to move.
-They hang upside down.

 We practiced dancing slowly to our Sloth song from our MGT cd, and then it was time to try something upside down...ART!

This activity is something I contemplated doing with my high school students back in the day.  However, asking 180 14-19 year olds to lie on the floor and do artwork... 
I knew it was a battle I just didn't want to deal with.

But my 3 year old daughter on the other hand...
Oh how I enjoyed watching her create her masterpiece!

It started with looking at the artwork provided in our Invitation to Create:
the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo on his back. 

When Sweet Pea looked at this picture, she said,
"It's like Little Mermaid." ha ha ha ha!!
I think the half naked people reminded her of the mermaids and mermen! 
Anyway, I told her that Michelangelo painted all these pictures on his back and that we were going to do some art on our backs too!
So I taped the provided white card stock to the underside of her little table,
 and instead of markers I let her use crayons.

Her whole body was into creating this work.  It was hard to color on the paper
 and not lift your legs up.  I wonder what Michelangelo looked like?

She worked on making lines and circles and soon got distracted pulling the paper off the crayons because you know...she's 3.  lol...
When she finished, I glued the provided blue card stock frame around her artwork.

She still wanted to color and spotted her Little Journal book. 
This thing is completely covered...mostly in her tracing letters I have written down.  But today, we found a page that wasn't completely covered.  The number 6 page.  The prompt asked me to draw a drum and then Sweet Pea could draw 6 circles on it and count them.

The above picture is her counting her circles.
She's been really into counting EVERYTHING lately.
It's how I get her to eat her green beans at night :)
"Let's count how many green beans you can eat!!"
"Wow!!! 23 green beans!  You're an amazing green bean eater!"

Have fun learning in new and exciting ways!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

S is for Serpent

We've been battling sickness around here...
stuffy noses, hacking coughs, and constant snuggle time make for long days.
However even during the struggle of these days, it is so nice to break open a Mother Goose Time bag and explore the new items that make learning so much fun.

Snake day was just what both my girl and this momma needed, and it was perfect to tie in a lesson from our Experience God pack (Eve tempted by the serpent).

We started our day with a table top activity to build a snake. 

The pieces resembled dominoes, except they had stripes or dots. Sweet Pea and I took turns build our snake.  I love how this activity allows the snake to look different each time you build it.  We must've rebuilt this snake at least 10 different times throughout the day.  It was also the first thing she showed Daddy when he came home.  Here's a quick video of us building it together...

After building the snakes, I pulled out our Experience God pack. Before we did anything, I read the story from Sweet Pea's Bible. Of all the Bibles I have seen for little kids, this one is my absolute favorite!  The pictures are perfect, and the truths are spot on.  Daddy reads it each night and this is our 3rd time to go through it. 

After reading about the story in the Bible, I then used our Experience God pictures to retell the story and asked Sweet Pea to point and tell me about what she saw in the pictures.  
MGT does a superb job in their graphics.  I just love all these pictures.

Afterwards, she worked on her cutting skills by crafting a serpent from the materials in our Experience God pack.

Later that afternoon after the glue had dried, Sweet Pea told me different ways Adam and Eve sinned (didn't obey God; did not listen; hid...),
 and we wrote them on some of the orange squares she placed on her snake. 

Then, it was glorious nap time.

While she napped, I prepped our next snake activity:
an uppercase and lowercase matching activity using snakes and trees.


When she woke up she was ready to play.  It's amazing how a little rest rejuvenates the body.
We discussed how many snakes live in trees especially in the rainforest.  She slithered her snakes along the pink lines in our carpet and matched the uppercase snake pictures to the lowercase trees.
I thought I would stump her with "d" and "b," but matching those two did not phase her one bit!

So today is Thanksgiving, and I couldn't be more thankful to be able to spend time having fun with my girl even on sick days.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Make and Play: Taking Learning Home

I am so impressed with the math skills my 3 year old is learning thanks to the help of Mother Goose Time.  Last year, when Sweet Pea was 2, we usually skipped out on the Make and Play crafts that were in our unit kit.  This year though, we are not skipping them!
Here's why:

  1. The Make and Play's can be great games to take home and reinforce math! 

Last week, Sweet Pea decorated all 12 mushroom caps, and I hot glued them to cut pieces of thick straw.  We then stuck all 12 mushrooms in play dough and drew cards numbered 1-10 to subtract that many mushrooms from our patch, each time asking,
"How many are left in the patch?

You could easily turn this into an addition game by starting with an empty patch of play dough, drawing a card (ie. 3), placing that many mushrooms, drawing another card (ie. 5), and placing that many mushrooms.  Then have your little one count and see that 3+5=8.

Here's a little video of this in action:

What a fun game to play at home with the family!

2.  The Make and Play's become puppets to use in other lessons.

Our first lesson in our Rainforest unit was on Jaguars.  During our Make and Play, Sweet Pea turned the letter J into a Jaguar. which you can see below.  When she finished, I just hung it up in her playroom, but it became a puppet in our monkey lesson 5 days later...


In our monkey lesson, I sang a rhyme provided by MGT and the Jaguar would scare Monkeys off the vine or tree.  Sweet Pea loved this game and was really into using her Jaguar to scare the Monkeys.  

Here's a little clip of it in action:

3. Make and Play's can become toys to help explain concepts learned during the day.

If you missed our Leafcutter Ant day, be sure to read about it here.
On that day, we made a Make and Play Leafcutter Ant from an egg carton.  The paint was still wet, so the other day, Sweet Pea finished creating her ant.  She played with it throughout the morning making it carry leaves to build a nest.  Explaining leafcutter ants is a tough concept for preschoolers, but by being able to use a toy, parents can easily see what little ones are trying to tell them.

Make and Play's are not just crafts, but great ways to take the learning home!
So before you trash that craft project that was brought home, be sure to ask and talk to your preschooler about it and see how you can use it at home.

When kids see that the home and school are incorporated, it becomes understood that learning happens all the time- everywhere.

Have fun Making and Playing!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Becoming a Leafcutter Ant

Everyday her imagination grows.
About 3 days a week, Sweet Pea has "Quiet Time" instead of nap time, which has helped her mind grow so much in terms of imagination and learning how to play by herself.
I think having this Quiet Time has helped her in being able to role play more often, which is exactly what happened this afternoon as we pretended to be Leafcutter Ants from our Rainforest unit with Mother Goose Time.

Since it's just me and my girl, we don't do the Community Challenge without some modification. 
Today, it was me, a 34 week pregnant momma, crawling on the floor with my girl pretending to be a Leafcutter Ant.  My back is now paying the price, but it was totally worth it for the memories. <3
I let her be the leader and we discussed how ants usually travel in a line.  We took some of our leaves we used from last month's weather unit and crawl to a designated spot to build our nest.  
When I took a much needed break, my girl continued to be a Leafcutter Ant and I caught her on video:

She absolutely LOVED pretending to be a Leafcutter Ant!
We started our day with this role playing game, and she ended her day playing this game with Daddy.

After taking a much needed break (for momma), she began our Make and Play craft: creating an ant.
However, we still are waiting for the paint to dry to finish making him. 
Then she can make her new toy role play moving leaves from one place to the other!  
She's going to love it!

While the paint dried, we made some fingerprint ants on the cover of her My Little Journal. 
The fingerprint is the body, then a circle is drawn for the head and 2 lines for the antenna.
I love her drawings.


Time to be Leafcutter ants again!
This time I encouraged her to bring her leaves to the lightbox to make her nest.
Once she finished that, we dug out some ants from our bin of manipulatives from Mother Goose Time and played with them and the leaves.

I recently became an Usborne consultant, and purchased the shine-a-light book, 
It is the absolute most PERFECT book to go along with this unit from Mother Goose Time.
We found the page about Leafcutter ants and counted them using our flashlight.

Time to be Leafcutter ants again!
Daddy came home and the first thing out of Sweet Pea's mouth was:
"Hi Daddy! Wanna play leafcutter ant game with me?"
How could he resist?

They built their nest underneath the coffee table.
She's the leader again, naturally.
I love when he gets to participate in the learning adventure with us.

Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more learning fun!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What's in the Experience God Pack? God is Just

Every month Sweet Pea and I learn another attribute about God with our Experience God pack from Mother Goose Time.  This month we are learning that 
as we study Genesis 2-3.

There are 2 packages we receive; a Teacher Guide and a Child Craft pack.
You only need one teacher guide pack, but you will need a child craft pack for each child. 

What's in the packages?
Let me show you.

Teacher Pack:

The Teacher Guide comes packed with 20 different lessons and activities to help preschoolers grasp the concept being taught about God... in this case, the fact that GOD IS JUST.  These activities can easily be adapted to being done once a day, or you could use it for your preschool Sunday School class! Along with the guide, comes a memory verse poster, in this case it is Revelation 15:3, and 4 posters with the Bible story on the back.  This makes it very easy to hold up the poster and tell the kids the Biblical story. 

In every corner of the 20 activities in the Teacher Guide, is an EXPLAIN section to help you stay focused on what the child really needs to understand through the lesson.  This helps me keep our discussion on track during the activity and battle the millions of thoughts and questions my preschooler might have.  

Child Craft and Family Activity Pack
The Child Craft and Family Activity Pack comes with 4 crafts the kids can make that summarize what was covered each week.  For example, during week 1, we will study mostly on how God created Adam and what He asked Adam to do and be in charge of (name the animals and tend to the Garden of Eden).  So our craft is a turtle planter with seeds to make our own little garden! 

Also included in the Child Craft and Family Pack, are Family Newsletters with games that can easily be taken home to retell what was learned during the week.  On the back of these newsletters, is a coloring sheet.  I just make a copy of the coloring sheet using my scanner/printer, so that I can cut the games out and Sweet Pea and I can play and have her coloring sheet as well.  The newsletter gives great discussion starters to help at home and directions on how to play with the game cards that are on the front seen below. 

These lessons, crafts, and game ideas are perfect for preschoolers and Sweet Pea has learned so much!  Last month was all about Esther and how GOD ASK ME TO BE BRAVE which was a great lesson for my cautious girl.

As a Children's Pastor who has looked into tons of different curriculum for kids, 
I have been so impressed with what Experience God has to offer! 
I love how we stay focused on one story for the entire month. (Genesis 2-3)
I love how we study one attribute of God for the whole month (JUST)
I love how my girl memorizes one verse for the month. (Rev 15:3)
And I am so thankful I can just open up the package and teach my girl about the God who loves and created her easily without digging out a million things. 

Be sure to check out Experience God through Mother Goose Time!

Happy Learning!