Search This Blog

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Toddler Fun, Week 6: Letter D, Number 6, Brown and Deer

Being an itinerating missionary means being gone a lot, many hours in the car, and staying in strange places many nights.  But it also means we get to see SO MUCH of our state and country!
This month we are mainly in the Ocala/Central Florida area, which is simply beautiful.  So, in honor of that, I decided to do "D is for Deer" week.  I hope you enjoy!

Week 6

Letter: D
Number: 6
Color: Brown
Animal: Deer


1. Drive through Ocala National Forest

 On our drive home, we stopped at a pier to look around.  It was breathtaking!  Honestly. All we could hear was ourselves, and the birds.  Aidan loved it just as much as we did!  As we continued to drive, I was praying to see a deer.  I told my husband I would settle for a skinny cow.  Just then, we saw 3 deer 

by the side of the road!  Oh happy day!  I was so excited!  Aidan saw them too, he didn't particularly care, or understand why mommy was so excited, but it was a great moment!!

2. Deer Footprint Activity
I made footprint stamps using foam craft paper, 6-inch cardboard cake stands and elastic.  (I printed out a deer footprint, cut it out, then cut it out the foam paper.  I hot glued it to the cake stands - off of which I cut some of the side, attached the elastic, hot glued the foam onto the cardboard, and voila!  Then I cut out antlers and ears, and attached them to a pipe cleaner headband.
For the footprint part, I put paint on the stamps, and slipped them onto his hands and feet.  Then he practiced walking on his hands and feet.  The prints weren't super defined, but he had a good time pretending to have deer powers!
The finished product! (Can you tell where he stood up, haha?)  I cut out the best-looking part, and hung it on our fridge.  I was particularly tickled that the footprint actually looked like a "D" on each side.

3. Forest Animal Habitat Placing
I had some stickers back from when I had time to scrapbook that were forest animals.  I printed out a picture from where we were in the Ocala National forest.  Then, we talked about where each animal lives - water, trees, on the ground.  Aidan knew where pretty much each animal lived, which was exciting!

4. Goofy Pictures
I don't use Snapchat, but I downloaded it this week, so Aidan and I could play around with the filters.  Of course, the deer one was our favorite, but we had fun trying out all of them.


1. That sandwich, "doe"...
(I know the antlers make it a buck. :)) For this lunch, I used a sandwich - which I cut to look like a deer head, ears and neck, the crust for the antlers, cheese for the forehead, and black olives for the eyes and nose.  I also have him some pistachios and mandarin sections.  It was a huge hit!  Except for the olives, haha!

2. "D" is for Donut Deer
Our little guy is a HUGE donut fan, so I knew I needed to include them somehow.  So, for this snack I used cinnamon mini donuts, pretzels, chocolate chips and candy eyes (because I was tires of making them every time, haha!)


1. D is for Donut
For this Alphabet addition, I cut out a brown D, and he stuck it on the paper.  Then he painted some white finger paint on it for icing.  I had pre-cut some colorful strips of paper, which he, with my help, cut into little "sprinkles".  This boy loves his donuts, so I knew it would really help him remember "D".

2. Deer Footprint Art
We made a couple of these, one for Daddy, one for Grandpa, and one for Aidan to put up on the wall in his room.  It's just his and my footprints, which I "doctored" up to turn into deer. :)

Books and Media

We Read:

1. Imogene's Antlers by David Small
I loved this book as a kid, and was more than happy to introduce Aidan to it!  It's about a young girl who wakes up one morning with antlers, and how that affects her life.  It's great for promoting creative thinking and imagination.

2. Stormy Finds the New Forest by Tom Storm
Our friend Amy brought Aidan this book back from Great Falls, Montana, where both she and the author are from.  This book gives a good explanation of the relationship between hunting and deer overpopulation.  It's more for older kids, so we just like looking at the illustrations, which are very pretty!

3. Over in the Forest by Marianne Berkes
We took this book out of the library, but really, I'd love to own it!  It's a great counting book, featuring forest animals, but what makes it even more perfect for our needs this week, is that it has each animal's footprints too!

4. The Deer in the Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I am a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, and had a couple of these kids' version of her books growing up, so I was tickled to find there was a deer one!  It's about how Pa goes hunting, but so enjoys watching the deer, that he simply isn't able to shoot any of them that day.  I think it's so special, how it shows a gentler side to a man.

5. Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin/Eric Carle
Again, I was so glad to find an Eric Carle book that fit our theme this week!  There is a mule deer in it, and we've read it so many times, that Aidan "reads" it to himself, which is pretty much the most precious thing, ever.

We Watched:

1. Bambi 
This Disney classic has been moved back into the vault, but I was able to find it on Amazon.  If you don't want to spend the money, a lot of times you can find it at your local library.  I recently found the "Place Hold" function on my local library's website.  It allows me to find books, even at other libraries around the city, place them on hold, then my account tells me when they come in, and then I go pick them up.  They're waiting for me in a nice little bundle when I get there.  Perfection.

2. Paw Patrol, Season 2 Episode 11, Pups Leave Marshall Home Alone/Pups Save the Deer.  
If you're looking for it on iTunes, it's in the Paw Patrol Volume 3.  In true Paw Patrol fashion, there's an emergency, and the pups save the day.  In the second part of this episode, there is a deer family in trouble, and guess who is on their way to save the day?!  You guessed it! :)  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Toddler Fun, Week 5: Letter F, Number 5, Pink and Flamingos

Oh, my... FLAMINGOS.  Who doesn't love flamingos?!  You just have to love a big, pink bird!!!  Anyway, welcome for our Flamingo/letter F week!

Week 5

Letter: F
Number: 5
Color: Pink
Animal: Flamingo


1. Going to the Zoo

We are very faithful members of the Jacksonville zoo!  We have more than gotten good use of our membership. Our zoo already had a flamboyance (yes, a group of flamingos is called a flamboyance) of flamingos, and they were Caribbean.  They're one of Aidan's favorites.  But since our last visit, they've added a new flamboyance of African flamingos, which was perfect for us!  We talked about how the African flamingos were lighter pink than the caribbean ones, and we had a wonderful day!

2. Light pink/Dark pink card
I made this card for Aidan, with one light pink side, with the African flamingos, and the other, darker, with the Caribbean ones. What kid doesn't love looking at pictures of himself?!  It's just a fun reminder to have around his books.

3. Wild Kratts Flamingo Power 
Aidan LOVES the Wild Kratts!!  So, his daddy got him a creature power suit (the vest), which came with two creature power discs (the little circle in the middle).  Naturally, over the course of a couple months, they've gotten lost, besides, to get new discs, you have to buy the corresponding toy, and I'm not doing that at this point.  SO, I made him some!  You can find directions for them here.  I made a flamingo one, and then we practiced using our "flamingo powers" to practice standing on one foot (a really important gross-motor milestone).  We also pretended to sift shrimp out of the water with our beaks, moving our heads back and forth, and walking together while moving our heads from right to left (what the males do to get the females' attention).  It was so much fun!

4. Bright Eyed Baby Chunky State Flash Cards
I bought these chunky flash cards when it was a Kickstarter, and I love them so much!  Each set is specific to a certain state, so all the cards are about things that state is famous for.  We've taken them with us on our road trips, for when we get to see one of the things on the cards; mangos, Everglades, marina, manatee, and of course FLAMINGOS  Happily for me, Aidan really loves them too!

5. Flamingo Counting
 We made these really cute flamingos (it'll be in the crafts section).  Then, I wrote numbers 1-5, and had him count them out.  He's really good at counting, but has a little hard time recognizing numbers.  So I thought this was a great way to do both.  Saying them in order, and pointing at them, and 
the flamingos under the numbers.


1. Strawberry flamingos
So, for this adorable snack I used 2 strawberries, 1 mandarin section, a Babybell cheese, a white chocolate chip and a little piece of chocolate chip.  Then I cut them all up, and put them together to create this!

2. Watermelon flamingos
For this one, which I like even better than the last one, I used watermelon, a mandarin section, fruit leather, a white chocolate chip, and a little piece of a chocolate chip.  Super, super yummy!


1. F is for Flamingo
For this one, I cut out a pink "F", a pink wing, a white beak (I colored the tip black), and a googley eye.  Then, we talked about the letter F, and flamingos, etc.  I put glue on the pieces, and helped him glue them on.  He's such a cutie!

2. Handprint Flamingos
 For this craft, I squeezed out red and white paint.  Then, I helped Aidan mix the two paints to make different shades of pink, painted it on his hand, and made hand prints.  I used a brush to turn the thumb into a head.  Then, I painted on beaks and eyes.  After that, on a separate piece of paper, I painted legs.  Then I cut out the pieces, and taped the legs to the flamingos.  We talked about how everyone is different, but that's what 

makes us special.  I couldn't help but take a picture of them all together, because they look so pretty!  After that, I glued them onto paper, cut out some grass, and wrote "You're Flamazing" at the top.  We're sending 2 to the grandmas, he's keeping one, and one to his leading lady, Amy.

Books and Media

We Read:

1. Florida by Sandra Friend
I love this book, because Sandra talks about the history and agriculture of Florida, which is pretty much all new to me!  She goes by area, which is fantastic.  Flamingos are found down in the Keys, and there's a great little blurb about it.

2. Goodnight Miami by Patricia Baloyra
This book is by a Miami local, Patricia Baloyra.  It's written in the style of Goodnight Moon, and goes over many of the key things about Miami.  One of them is the zoo, and the illustration for that page is a flamingo.  Score!

3. Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Of course, this is a classic.  There are no flamingos, naturally, but it's about the number 5, which is perfect!  Plus, jumping.  And monkeys.  Duh.

4. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle
Like I need a reason to read Eric Carle?!  Aidan got this book (and the whole "bear" series) from his Great-Aunt Kathy.  This particular one has a fluting flamingo in it.  Fffffffabulous! 

We Watched:

1. Gnomio and Juliet - this is a little-known movie, and honestly, it's a little adult (not inappropriate, just goes over kids' heads), but it has a flamingo lawn ornament character, which was perfect for our needs.

2. Wild Kratts, Season 1 Episode 38, Birds of a Feather - Of course, we're big fans of Wild Kratts.  Flamingos aren't in the animated part of the episode, but they're at the beginning and end, and you learn fun facts!

3. Kazoops - This is a BBC show, which is now on Netflix now.  It's a cute show, about a boy who uses his imagination a lot, just like our little boy.  Also, in episode 4, there's a very cute flamingo!

* 4. Tinga Tinga Tales  
I found this show after we did "Flamingo" week, but I thought it was worth adding.  I found this show on Netflix.  It tells African (specifically Tanzanian and Kenayn) folk tales about how different animals got their signature characteristics.  One of them is "Why The Flamingo Stands On One Leg.

* 5. The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Episode 128b, Pretty in Pink - These episodes are fun, and Aidan loves the Cat in the Hat.  This episode is about Flamingos, and their interesting behaviors and characteristics.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

DIY Wild Kratts Creature Power Discs

Aidan loves Wild Kratts.  Honestly, we ALL love Wild Kratts.
If you're not familiar with it, it's a PBS show for kids about two brothers who travel the world learning about animals.  They have a whole crew, one of whom, Aviva creates something called creature power discs.  They're these discs, that when they put them in their suit gives them the powers of that animal.  Aidan has the vest (suit part), but was in need of the discs.  So, I took matters into my own hands.

What you'll need:
- Wood discs (approx. $5), about 1 inch in diameter
- Acrylic paint
- (Color) printer (and paper, of course)
- White school glue
- Brushes

1. I printed out some creature power discs I found online. (Small enough for the disc.)
2. Next, I painted the wood discs the matching color.  (Both sides, and edges.)

3. After the paint dried, I cut out the paper pictures, and modge lodged them onto the discs, using the white school glue.  (If you're not familiar with this method, you put glue on the back of the picture, using a brush, stick it on the surface of whatever you're adhering it to, and then brush more glue on the top.)

4. I made them two-sided, to give him just that many more options.

Ta-Da!  That's it!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Toddler Fun, Week 4: Letter R, Number 4, Red and Rooster

When we visited Key West for a service a few weeks ago, I learned that all wild life in Key West is protected.  Some years back some chickens and roosters got loose, and now their descendants are roaming the streets free as a bird (get it?).  Honestly, it was my favorite part about Key West, so I knew I wanted to "R is for Rooster" when the time came.  So, this week, it's all about red roosters and chickens!

Week 4
Letter: R
Number: 4
Color: Red
Animal: Rooster (and chickens)


1. Visiting a local farm 
We had some friends from our old church, who have a farm.  I called them up and asked if we could swing by to see the chickens and rooster.  She said we could, and we had a WONDERFUL time!  Many small gardens and farms have times you can visit, tours they do, and even classes for kids on healthy eating, animals and what-not.  It's worth looking to see if there is one near you!

2. Rrrrracing

I used rrrred chalk to write the letter "R", and then bought out his bucket of cars, and had him race them up and down the letter.  He really enjoyed this one, and I think it helped him remember the letter "R".  (Tip: don't forget to wipe off the cars' wheels before you bring them back in.  You don't want to get chalk on your carpet.:))

3. Running around the back yard, crowing at the top of our lungs.  That's right!!


1. Rooster Fruit Salad
So, I found this idea on Pinterest, and made it my own.  I used one mandarin orange, two strawberries, one blueberry and about 2 spears of mango.  First I arranged the mandarin orange segments into the body.  Then I placed the wing and other strawberry pieces.  Then the blueberry eye, and the mangoes. Aidan was a really big fan, and I loved how it turned out!

2. Chick-Fil-A
Okay, so this may be a little morbid, since we're talking about roosters and chickens, and then eating them, but I guess that's what you get when you're an omnivore.  So, on our way out to the farm, we got some Chick-Fil-A (or Chick-olay, as Aidan says), and we had a very happy boy in the back seat!


1. R is for rooster
For this addition to our letter book, I cut out all the shapes and then helped him glue the pieces on.  He liked the triangles, and called them teeth, because during our A is for Alligator week, the triangles were teeth (which I was kind of impressed with, that he remembered).  He loved the googley eye too.  I tried to steer him towards a smaller one, but he wanted the "biggest one", and I agree.  It's perfect!

2. Hand Print Chicken 

I love classic handprint art for kids.  So we made a Little Red Hen, and I wrote the numbers 1-4 on the tail feathers for practicing our numbers.  His hand already looks so big...sigh.

Books and Media 

We Read:

When we visit somewhere, I try to get Aidan a book by either a local author, or about the place we visit.  When we were in Key West, I found this gem, and thought I'd share it with you.  This is a great book by a local author about a rooster who loves the violin, and tries to crow along with it - much to the violinist's annoyance.  The second half of the book has photographs and talks about the real rooster(s) that inspired the story.

2. Rain Dance by Kathi Appelt
This is a fun counting book about farm animals.  It's not earth-shattering, but it's perfect for what we're doing (and has chickens)!

3. Wake Up, Sun! by David L. Harrison
This was a book I had as a kid, and I love it!  It's about a dog who wakes up, thinks it's morning, but the sun has forgotten to wake up - a task which he and the other farm animals take upon themselves.

4. The King's Chorus by Linda Hayward
This is a cute book I picked up at last week's library sale.  It's about a rooster who thinks he's all that and a bag of chips, and keeps everyone up all night with his cock-a-doodle-doo-ing, until a goose tells him that the sun is actually the eye of a giant rooster in the sky, and that as he rises, every rooster in the world has its' part in his choir.

We Watched:

1. Chicken Run - it's on Netflix, so if you have an account, you can watch it for free, yay!  It's a childhood favorite of mine - plus Mel Gibson as a rooster is just took great to pass up.

2. Chicken Little - (also on Netflix) it's not my favorite, but Aidan really likes it, and if it gives me time to do laundry, put on clothes and do my hair, I'm not totally against it. :)

3. Paw Patrol - like we need a reason to watch Paw Patrol!!!  But, the mayor has a pet purse chicken named Chickaletta, so I guess it fits our theme - sigh...

4. Ask The StoryBots, Episode 1 "How Does Night Happen?" - We are new fans of the Storybots! Apparently the app has been around for a while, and already has a big following, so we're late to the party, but nonetheless enthusiastic!  They're little robots who live in computer parts, and answer questions for kids.  This episode is perfect for this week, because it has a song about the color red, as well as one called "Chicken Bop", which Aidan loves to dance along to!