Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

To get back into the school groove, we started with a unit based on the classic alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin.  There is a reason so many kindergarten classes start the year with this book.  For us it was a DSCN0221great way to review our letters and ease back into our school schedule. To get in the spirit, we started with a palm tree I made in our school room.  I just used brown construction paper and part of a very cheap green plastic tablecloth.

Letter Hunt

DSCN0224I printed these letters out on cardstock and hung them around the house the night before our letter hunt.  I was surprised how much the girls enjoyed finding them and for some reason wearing them.  They were still in their pajamas when we got started.  We then hung the letters up on our palm tree just like in the story.

Download Large Lowercase Letters here

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Coconuts, of course!DSCN0232

You can’t talk about palm trees without exploring coconuts.  I picked some up at the grocery store and after touching and describing them from the outside we broke them open (well, their dad broke them open) and then we all got to taste the coconut milk.  It was different than all of us were expecting.

Mia's face shows exactly what she thinks of the coconut

Mia’s face shows exactly what she thinks of the coconut

Coconut Volcano

I stuffed one of the coconut halves with baking soda and then we took turns pouring the vinegar in to make our volcano explode.  Having recently visited Hawaii, the girls loved mixing two things they saw on their trips.  And then of course, they had to play in the mixture while it was fizzing.

Coconut Volcano

Shake & Color

This was another letter review activity that I’ve seen on a few different sites.  We made these palm trees out of Sprite bottles then filled them with rice and small laminated letters (I used the color version of their worksheet).  The girls would shake the bottles and then identify the letters they saw and color them on their worksheet.

Shake and Color Game

Download Student Version Shake n Color Game in black and white

Download Shake n Color Game in color

Boom Boom Letter Game

The girls loved this game which we picked up from Kindergarten Kel here.

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Letter Sensory Bin

This was super simple to set up but fun for the girls.  I just tossed magnetic letters into our sensory bin with some blue water to mimic the ocean. They fished the letters out with chopsticks (great for motor skills) and then sorted them by capital and lowercase.

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Playdough Number Cards20140908_110351

These number cards from Kindergarten Celebration were a huge hit with the girls.  They filled in the squares on the ten frame for each number and also formed the numbers out of playdough.  You can find the cards here.

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Letter Worksheets

Chicka chicka boom boom worksheetWe also used these worksheets I picked up online.  For the uppercase letters the girls marked the letters with dauber dots as we read through the first half of the book.  The lowercase worksheet involved matching the letters together.  Click on the links below to find the worksheets.

Uppercase Chicka Chicka Boom Boom worksheet

Lowercase Chicka Chicka Boom Boom worksheet

 

Bathtub Fun

This was all purely for fun but the girls LOVED the themed bath I did for them.  The palm tree pieces are cut from regular fun foam sheets–when wet it sticks to the tiles easily.  I used some alphabet pieces we already had although you could also cut those from fun foam if necessary.  The girls also played with the coconut pieces but if you do this, be sure to clean them carefully.  We learned that the hard way.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom bathtub

Snack time!

We also enjoyed snacks inspired by the book.  I saw a few different versions of these online.  For us, we used grapes to make the coconuts.  The girls were also much more willing to try something new (they have never been a big fan of kiwi) when it was in the shape of a palm tree.

This one was made from apples, graham crackers, and grapes

This one was made from apples, graham crackers, and grapes

This lunch was made of banana, kiwi, grapes, cheese, and sliced turkey

This lunch was made of banana, kiwi, grapes, cheese, and sliced turkey

We also baked Chicka Coconut Banana Booms.  You can find the recipe here from Growing Book by Book.

Letter Collage

I precut the pieces of the palm tree and then the girls assembled it.  They then decorated the tree with letter stickers and were supposed to make a collage using magazine pieces.  Unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan.

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As for other art projects, there are tons of cute ideas online.  We kept running out of time and the girls weren’t feeling crafty so as much as I loved all the ideas I saw, we never really made any of them. 🙁

Pinterest

Need more ideas?  Feel free to check out my Pinterest board!

Our Favorite Pig Books

Since we’ve been doing a lot with the letter P recently–including pizza graphs and the poem “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater”–it made sense in my head to share one of our favorite books about the letter P, Princess Pigtoria and the Pea.  And that made me want to include another one of our favorite pig books, Pigsty.

Princess Pigtoria and the Pea by Pamela Duncan EdwardsPrincess Pigtoria

This is really a retelling of The Princess and the Pea using pigs.  But what makes Edwards’ version special is the humor and the focus on the letter P.  Throughout the book she uses wonderful alliteration and fills the story with animals, foods, and objects that start with the letter P.  It’s not only in the wording too.  The pictures are filled with “p” objects which makes it a wonderful scavenger hunt.  And as I mentioned, the humor is delightful.  Pigtoria ends up ditching the pompous prince for the pizza delivery-pig who doesn’t put a pea under her pillows.  They go on to open up their own pizza chain.  You can’t beat a princess like that.

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Pigsty by Mark TeaguePigsty

Wendell Fultz has such a messy room that a pig moves in with him.  At first he thinks it’s great and doesn’t mind as more pigs join them.  They have fun playing games and making a mess.  But eventually Wendell stops having fun.  He sees that his stuff is getting broken and there is no room in his room.  So Wendell and the pigs clean up his room.  The pigs feel the room is too clean for them and they leave him, leaving Wendell no longer living in a pigsty.  The girls think the pictures are especially funny.  Mark Teague illustrated the How do Dinosaur books (How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?  How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? etc.) and you will definitely recognize his style.  I enjoy the clever way he shows why we keep our rooms clean and why no one wants to live in a pigsty.

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We love David Wiesner!

I wanted to share some of our latest favorite books–Mr. Wuffles!Flotsam, and The Three PigsP1060041All are by David Wiesner, who our family absolutely loves.  (When my husband saw me writing this he said, “We do love David Wiesner.”)  Wiesner also wrote the classic Tuesday about the flying frogs.  His picture books have very little text (if any) but tell thorough and clever stories.

Mr. Wuffles!Mr. Wuffles!

In Mr. Wuffles!, an alien spaceship lands on earth to make first contact.  Unfortunately it is very tiny and gets mistaken for a cat toy.  The cat, Mr. Wuffles, begins playing with the spaceship knocking around the poor aliens and breaking their ship.  The aliens get away and befriend some ants and ladybugs.  They then need to work together on the repairs and to get the aliens back to their ship so that they can escape from Mr. Wuffles.  This is without a doubt one of the most creative stories we’ve come across.

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FlotsamFlotsam

An old-fashioned underwater camera washes ashore while a boy is playing.  Once developed, the film reveals fantastical images from the ocean–islands that are really sea stars, cities made of shells upon the backs of turtles, a puffer fish used as a hot air balloon, and even the aliens from Mr. Wuffles.  The final picture is a girl holding a picture of a boy holding a picture and so on.  Using a magnifying glass and then a microscope, the boy is able to see how far back the pictures go–that each child found the camera and took a picture of themselves holding the final picture.  After taking a picture of himself holding the picture, he releases the camera back into the ocean for another child to find.   While the story might not be as complicated, the images are absolutely beautiful and encourage the imagination.  Wiesner also does a great job playing with size, magnification, and perspective.

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The Three PigsThe Three Pigs

We all know the story of the three little pigs, right?  But Wiesner’s take on the story is such a fun and creative twist.  When the big bad wolf huffs and puffs, he does more than just blow down the first pig’s house; he blows the pig right of the story.  The big then goes and gets his brothers out of the story and they start exploring the white space.  They enter other stories, including Hey Diddle, Diddle, and meet some friends along the way.  While they decide there is no place like home, they also make up their own ending to the story.

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Halloween Books

I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite Halloween-themed books.  Considering how we decorate our house (which you can see here), of course we have favorite Halloween books.  Thanks to their dad, my girls do have a pretty high tolerance when it comes to scary things.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Room on the BroomWe LOVE Julia Donaldson!  We’ve enjoyed every book we’ve read by her (The Gruffalo books and A Gold Star for Zog are two of our all-time favorites).  If you enjoy Donaldson’s creativity, repetitive text, and lyrical rhyming, Room on the Broom won’t let you down.  In it a witch loses her hat, bow, and wand and then meets a dog, parrot, and frog who help her find her items.  In exchange she gives them a ride on her broom and together they learn about friendship and teamwork.  And a dragon even makes an appearance!  What more do you want?Room on the Broom picture

Zombelina by Kristyn Crow

Zombelina

Zombelina
I wasn’t thrilled when my husband came home with this book but it quickly won me over.  Zombelina is the cutest zombie I’ve ever seen!  Her family is very similar to The Munsters or Addam’s Family.  She loves her ballet class that her mom signs her up for but at her recital she runs into a little trouble when she scares away the audience.  This is really cute and you don’t need to be familiar with scary zombies to enjoy it.

Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex

Goodnight GoonThis is a parody of Goodnight Moon and a welcome break if you are tired of reading the original (like I am).  It is a bit scarier than some of the other books on our list.  But if your kids are older or not too sensitive, the pictures and the text are hilarious.  It follows the exact same format and rhythm as the original just this time a goon, witch, monsters, and a werewolf are involved.Goodnight Goon

Where’s My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi

Where's My Mummy?
Where's My Mummy

The girls picked this one out.  I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite but my daughters LOVE it!  I think it’s the repetitive text (what little one doesn’t like repetition?).  They also think it’s funny that Little Baby Mummy who is playing hide & seek with Big Mama Mummy is not scared of the monsters but is scared of a little mouse (oops, spoiler alert).  The monsters are shown in very friendly ways so the book is just the right level of scary and funny for toddlers and preschoolers without being too much.

 

Picture Books With Little Text

Here are some of my favorite books without words, well with very few words.  These were some of the first books the girls would “read.”  They loved that they could tell the story through the pictures and I liked that these are great picture books that allow them to practice early reading strategies.  While the girls do really enjoy them, I did say my favorite books because honestly these are all classics I bought before the girls were even born.

Tuesday by David Wiesner

Tuesday by David Wiesner_Cover

Something weird is going on in the marsh.  Suddenly all the frogs sitting on their lily pads take flight.  With only dates and times, the vivid pictures tell the story of the frogs wild night flying through the local town.  It’s an imaginative story that leaves you just a little disappointed when the sun comes up and the lily pads with their frogs drop to the ground.  Of course, there is always next Tuesday…

 

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmanngorilla0

Gorilla steals the zoo keeper’s keys and while the zoo keeper says goodnight to each animal, gorilla unlocks the cages.  We love Peggy Rathmann in this house!  The girls think this one is hilarious; they especially enjoy the wide eyes of the zookeeper’s wife when she sees all the animals in her bedroom.

 

Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

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Really any of the Carl books could make the list.  Carl is black lab and a wonderful babysitter who keeps the baby safe during their adventures and gets the baby back before the mom returns.  Some might consider it questionable parenting to leave a dog in charge of the baby (although family legend has it that my parents did the same thing) but to a child it makes perfect sense.

 

Honorable Mention–Blackout by John RoccoJohnRocco-Blackout

This one received honorable mention because while much of the book doesn’t have words, there is enough dialogue throughout to be a bit too much to say “no words.”  Also it’s a newer book that the girls and I discovered.  Living in an apartment in the city,  one family is a disconnected and caught in technology when a blackout strikes.  Despite the dark, the neighborhood comes alive, both out on the street and up on the roof.  By the end, while the lights come back on in the city, in this apartment the family decides to keep them off and continue spending time together.

 





 

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