Thursday, December 18, 2014

Picture Book of the Day: Snow Sounds + Sensory Play

Simple Snow-Inspired Sensory Play and More Letter S Learning Activities

Typically our children's book collection at home is largely dominated by library books (we'll have 20-40 out at a time) with a small collection of books that we own. Snow Sounds by David A. Johnson was one of the few books that successfully made the switch, meaning that we picked it out at the library and the boys loved it so much that I went ahead and purchased the book. Two years later, it remains a favorite of Caterpillar (3) and Wild Thing (5).

Snow Sounds is a simple picture book with few words -- all of which are onomatopoeias (words that sounds like what they mean, i.e. slush, jingle, scoop, scrape). When we read it my boys are mesmerized and love repeating the sounds with me. The beautiful watercolor paintings of this poetic book also bring the books magical feel to life for little readers. 

We don't get any snow where we live (well, it has snowed once in the last 5 years and that was minimal), but we thoroughly enjoy books that bring the snow to life for us. This book does that so well.

During our PreK Letter of the Week experience, we pulled this book out as we focused on the Letter S and used some packing peanuts to create a simple sensory play experiences inspired by snow. Not cold and wet, but still fun. 

P.S. We did purchase the book, ironically, from a library -- hence the marked out bar code. I swear we didn't steal it!

We also used our "snow" to make the letter S, adding into a winter scene piece of artwork that one of the boys brought home from school. 

When we explore a letter, we focus on each of the five senses. Our "snow" was for the sense of touch, and we discussed what real snow feels like. 

We also focused on shapes for the sense of sight. 
Our shape sensory tray and shape books.
Caterpillar (3) exploring our shape sorter.
Wild Thing (5) creating a rocket ship from shapes.
Sunflowers for the sense of smell. 
Simple Sunflower Sensory Bin.
Scooping practice with sunflower seeds and a muffin tin.

Strawberries for the sense of taste, comparing fresh strawberries, strawberry jam and strawberry yogurt. 

And we compared lots of difference sounds (S is for Sound!) by exploring our homemade instruments and some typical household objects to see what sounds we could create.
Our Sound Sensory Tray. Caterpillar loves clapping lids together to make cymbals.
A bonus letter S activity the boys loved was our simple sock sensory basket and sock sorting (which also was very helpful for me). I loved this as well because it allowed us to focus on counting and to teach the boys what a "pair" was. 

For more photos of our Letter "S" experiences and activities, please check out our Tot School/PreK Photo Album at The Good Long Road on Facebook where I add even more pictures of our learning activities. 

More from The Good Long Road:
Holiday Books + More
Winter Sensory Tray

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

{Giving Tuesday} Hope for the Hungry: Making a Difference for Children in Haiti

When engaging our children in service or in charitable giving, we always talk to our children about the work we are doing. It's important to us that the boys understand (at their level) those we are supporting. When we collect food for a food drive, we talk about hunger. If we make a donation to support children in another country, we learn about that country. I'm proud to highlight Hope for the Hungry, a non-profit that a childhood friend of mine is deeply involved with. She is directly tied to the organization's work in Haiti and recently did a teacher training there. I asked her to share with me some ways that individuals could get involved and support their work.

As we support Hope for the Hungry this holiday season, we'll also be learning about Haiti using some of the Children's Books About Haiti shared by Kid World Citizen.

There are many ways to get involved and support Hope for the Hungry. I'm excited to discuss them with Caterpillar and Wild Thing and see which we way we decide to get involved and give back. I'm grateful to my friend, Stephanie (who has a lovely blog, the process of becoming not me), for sharing these details on ways to support Hope for the Hungry.
1) Child home sponsorship - $100 provides for one of our orphans for one month. Any amount is helpful, however pledging to give $25 a month and giving consistently is a HUGE help and blessing. To be honest, we really need 40 commitments of $100/month sponsorships in order to adequately fund our orphan care and take care of those who are continuing their studies. We currently have 5 attending a university but by next October, that number will increase to 10. University study is expensive but we have committed to seeing them through their education...Consistent sponsorship is key!
2) Educate Haiti Fund - $12 educates and provides a hot lunch for 1 child for 1 month. We have over 900 students enrolled in our schools.
3) Purchase books for me to take to the teachers in Haiti. Literally...they don't have ANY literature or any access to literature. Can you even imagine it? They need French language books. I will be hand delivering these myself in February:) 
(Leave a comment or message me at The Good Long Road on Facebook if you want to connect with Stephanie to give books).
4) Purchase school supplies for me to take to the teachers during teacher training next summer. See our Amazon wish list and select some supplies to give.
Stephanie also shared some of the ways Hope for the Hungry is helping children in their local community in Central Texas. They have Coats for Kids and Christmas for Kids, two holiday campaigns to to support local children in need.
Please give what you can, if you are able or support an organization or cause that is meaningful to you and your family -- with your time, talents or with a charitable donation. I'd love to know how you are making a difference this holiday season!
You might also like:
Bloggers Support Hunger Action Month
Teaching Empathy Through Sibling Play