All About Me Worksheet

To kick-off our “school year” we did these All About Me sheets.  My plan is for the girls to fillP1040758 them out each year so we have a great journal of how they have grown and changed year.   I saw a few different versions online but had Ed make our own.

Download All About Me worksheet

It was great to hear their answers and capture this moment in time.  We also went back and did some of our “I am Special” activities.

All About Me Worksheet

The best answer… Mia saying that when she grows up she’ll be a “ninja princess scientist.”

What’s a file folder game?

File folder games are a great way to create fun, inexpensive learning activities for your little ones.  If you aren’t familiar with file folder games already, they are educational games that are usually attached or stored in a file folder.  Because they are so compact, they are easy to store and to keep track of all the pieces.  Typically a FFG includes a pocket for the front to hold any loose pieces and a label for the folder tab.

They are also really cheap to make–most just take a folder, paper, ink, glue, and (if you want the pieces to last) laminator.  And since they are so inexpensive, you really have a chance to be creative.  You can make games for any theme or holiday.  While there are sites to buy file folder games, either already made or to download, there are plenty of sites that offer free file folder games.

 

 

But the very best part is that you can use file folder games to teach so many different concepts. Really I’ve seen games for every subject and for such a wide range of ages.

Castle Letter Game

And to kick off your file folder game collection, here is one my husband designed for the girls.  It’s a letter matching game that features both upper- and lowercase letters (uppercase letters are princesses and lowercase letters are dragons).  You can use it to introduce letters, practice letter recognition, or practice letter sounds.

Castle Letters File Folder Game

This morning they found the file folders I was taking pictures of for this post and started playing with them.

The very first file folder game I made for the girls.  They loved matching the dinos.  http://www.filefolderfun.com/Pages/PreschoolColors/DinoEggs.html

From a ladybug math game I made. The spots are velcro for the girls to practice counting and fine motor skills.

 

Peg Number Boards

I had seen these peg boards both in some Montessori books and on a teaching site and knew that we could make them ourselves for less money and not too much time.  (Of course by “we” I really mean my husband Ed.)  The great thing about the peg boards is that it allows the girls to learn the number symbols and concepts by discovering them on their own.

Supplies: board (1″x6″x6′), golf tees, vinyl numbers, drill, saw, sandpaper, sealant

We decided that the blocks only needed to be an inch high so we got a board that was 1″ and 6″ by 6′.  Ed cut the wood into blocks that were about 5 1/2 by 3 inches and we were able to make 20 blocks.  Next Ed drilled the holes into the bottom and then sanded the blocks down, including softening the edges and corners.

For the numbers, I used my cricut to cut them out of vinyl but you could also purchase a set of numbers to use or paint them on yourself.  Then for the pegs we just used a package of golf tees so that we didn’t have to cut or make any pegs ourselves.

I also covered the blocks in a sealant.  I usually use Mod Podge but this time had another one leftover from a previous project.  My main reason for covering them was to prevent the girls from being able to scratch the numbers off.

The blocks were sitting out on the kitchen table drying when the girls woke up in the morning.  As soon as they saw the blocks, Zoe and Mia climbed into their seats and started playing with them.  They have loved pushing the pegs in and counting as they go.  They are having fun and learning so I would say that these have been a big hit for us.

All told we spent about $10 to make 2 sets of 10 blocks.  Luckily we had most of the supplies already and really only had to purchase the board and golf tees so for us it was far more cost effective to make them ourselves.  And it was all done in an afternoon.  But if you don’t want to make them yourself, here are some sets you could purchase.

The Mitten

To finish off the winter season, we focused on Jan Brett’s The Mitten, based on the Ukranian folktale.  In the story Nikki wants his Babba to make him white mittens even though they could be lost in the snow.  He then loses a mitten and all different animals crawl into the mitten to stay warm.  It’s a sweet story with cute pictures!

Skills: fine motor skills, art, shapes, counting, color recognition
Supplies: stiff white felt, yarn, one pipe cleaner, single hole punch, scissors, felt with a sticky back or other decorations, file folder, buttons,

The mittens we made turned out really well and the girls LOVED “sewing” them!

To make the mittens, fold a sheet of the stiff, white felt in half and cut out two mittens.  (I started with a mitten template from Jan Brett’s website here but ended up adapting it to a size and shape that worked better for me.)  Then punch holes all around the edges of one of the mittens.  Place one mitten over the other and mark a dot through each hole.  Punch holes out on the second mitten.

Next cut the yarn to be your “thread.”  I measured the yarn twice around the mitten to know where to cut.  Then cut about 1 1/2 inches from the pipe cleaner to be your needle.  Tie the yarn to the end of the pipe cleaner and then fold the tip over the knot.  I usually give the pipe cleaner a twist to hold on the yarn.  Tie the other end of the yarn to one of the holes at the bottom of the mitten.  I found it was easier to have all of this done ahead of time.

This was one project where we really had to work one at a time.  The girls would take turns playing with the mitten pieces and practicing poking the thread through the holes while I helped one with the actually stitching.

Afterwards we decorated the mittens using shapes I cut out of the sticky-back felt.  We talked about why Babba didn’t want Nikki to have white mittens in the snow and how our decorations would help Nikki find his mitten sooner.  Originally my plan was for the girls to glue on bits of felt, ribbon, and pom poms.  I then remembered I had the felt with the sticker backing and that was sooooo much easier and cleaner.

Later the girls colored the animals from the story on this printable from Jan Brett’s website.  I then cut out the animals they colored.  With the animal pieces we re-read the story, putting them in their mittens as we went.

To practice our colors and counting, we also played a file folder game that I got here.  Since we’ve done a few color matching games in the past, this time we matched colored buttons to the mittens in the folder.  I had gotten a bag of multicolor buttons from the fabric store to use on projects like this.  We then counted the buttons on each mitten, since each had a different amounts including zero.

We also read the nursery rhyme, “Three Little Kittens.”  Then we colored the picture I found here while practicing the number three.


 

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