Friday, January 29, 2016

DIY Container Creation

This is a quick DIY tutorial on creating a dog out of a cascade container. You can use this for tons of learning games and add a bit of fun to practicing basic skills. This sweet dog can also be used as a container for your Valentine cards! You can read about my inspiration for creating Container Creations here.
You will need:
  • Plastic Container- I used a Cascade container 
  • Foam or Felt
  • Fluffy Dusters (I used blue & white dusters from the Dollar Store)
  • Large Google Eyes
  • Hot Glue Gun & Hot Glue
  • Optional- Bells and Tag for a Collar

Cut your foam or felt to the size of your container and hot glue it around the outside.
 I used dusters to create fluffy ears. These were dusters from the Dollar Store. Remove the dusters from the handles and you are ready to roll!
Hot glue some felt to the inside of each ear. The ears will be hot glued to the top of the container and under the dog's face.
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Time to create a face! I used scouring pads from the Dollar Store to create the nose and tongue. You can easily use felt or foam, but I liked the different texture of the scouring pads.
 The dog's nose is a sort of heart-like shape and the tongue is half an oval. Cut out both in a red or pink color. Cut out a larger copies of both the nose and tongue in another color. I used black foam for the nose and pink for the tongue. 
 After attaching the ears to the top of the container, I cut out a white base for the dog's face. I wanted the dog to have a cute, spotted face, so I cut out a large circle to surround one of the eyes, Hot glue the face and eyes to the container.
 Hot glue the tongue directly onto the container. You will cover the top of the tongue with the dog's jowls. I used brown foam to create the dog's jowls. Hot glue the jowls on top of the tongue and attach the nose on top of it. 

 I added a fun metallic ribbon around the container. This created a collar for Bingo! I attached two bells and a metal tag to the "collar". I added an address label to the tag and wrote my dog's name onto the tag. I love this, because I can change the tag with the activity.
 Here is my completed doggy! He is a fun addition to any learning activity. My kids think it is great fun to leave secret messages for each other with Bingo! Whatever works for you :)
 The beauty of these container creatures is that they are able to "eat" so many things. I use them for eating small manipulatives, as well as, cards, letters, numbers and more.
 Use this puppy for so many things. I've used him for counting, rhyming, sequencing, matching upper and lower case letters, matching pictures & beginning/ending sounds, digraphs, and anything else that I dream up. 
I hope that you found some ideas that will work for your kids, too!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Novelty & Learning

Have you ever noticed how kids just can not resist the pull of something strange and new? Novelty helps capture attention.

 I love capitalizing on childrens' love of novelty to cement new information into their brains. Thus, I began to dream up "Container Creations".
The beauty of these interesting objects is that they are novel and grab attention, but also have some specific educational value. The kids are able to interact with the creations and practice specific skills. It turns rote practice into a coveted activity. 
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Catching Student Attention With Container Creations

 One of my kids had some difficulty understanding and retaining the differences between long and short vowel sounds. I tried all kinds of different tricks and games to help him recall those sounds, but nothing seemed to work. As a last resort, I came up with creating two animals with long and short vowels in their names. 'Abby the Alligator' and 'Jake the Snake' joined the family. They started out as clip art on sorting mats, but I quickly realized that this was not bold enough. I happen to be a pack rat and had multiple Cascade containers lying around and Abby and Jake were "born".
Having the actual animal made all the difference. This child was able to strongly identify with Abby and Jake. He called the animals by name and "fed" them the words. We made a huge deal about each animal only eating their specific vowel sound. Initially, I would cough and sputter and make the animal regurgitate the word, if the vowel sound was incorrect. This was a huge source of fun and it allowed him to really dissect each word and listen to the sound, because he wanted to please the animal. Silly, yes. Worth it, absolutely.
After the success of Abby and Jake, I created a whole set of animals that correspond with the short and long vowel sounds. 'Abby the Alligator' and 'Jake the Snake' are still two of my favorites. You can see another blog post with my DIY directions for Abby & Jake here. You can see the complete long and short vowel pack here. 
Sorting picture cards with a Long & Short Vowel Sorting Book

Short On Time...Break Out The Stuffed Animals

When I introduce the animals and vowel sounds, I bring out a stuffed animal or creation from my closet. This visual and auditory pairing, along with a cartoon-like animal pal, help to cement the information in some children's brains. You don't need to create something as elaborate as a container creation. It can be as simple as finding a stuffed animal and building up the intrigue around it.
 Leave it on your desk with it's head poking out over the top of a bag or container. I like building up the mystery by not answering questions about the creature. The suspense builds until they can't wait to find out about and interact with the "guests" in your room.

Use Puppets To Amp Up The Excitement

Puppets are another quick and easy way to bring any type of learning to life. A lot of kids are fascinated by any type of puppet. You can add the puppet to a learning center to add another type of hands on learning!

Bring Your Content to Life

Reading the "Frog and Toad" books by Arnold Lobel? Why not bring out a frog and toad to teach some literacy skills!
I made another set of container creations- this time a frog and toad.  'Freddy Frog' only snacks on short vowel words, while 'Toby Toad' eats only long vowel words. Kids can sort pictures or words.  It is easy to differentiate and fun to play. If you don't want to make the "Container Creations", simply print out the labels. Either way, kids will love it. See my blog post with DIY directions on making Frog and Toad + you can pick up the freebie, too!

I hope you picked up a few ideas on how to capture and harness your children's attention! Please let me know, if you have any requests on a "Container Creation". I love a challenge, and would love to create something that will have your kids lining up to learn! You can see the DIY directions on creating the dog container here.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snowy Fun...But No Cold!

Winter weather is here. The little pond in our backyard is frozen over except for a tiny patch near the fountain. Not my favorite weather. My kids are wishing for a blanket of powdery snow. I love the beauty of wintry weather, but not the cold. That's why we came up with a bunch of "snowy" fun to play inside.
You can check out our wintry fun over on Classroom Tested Resources. I have a snowy twist on "War". Kids will practice greater and less skills with a "Snowball Fight". Get the game free here. 
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There are also some other fun activities like shoveling snow with sight words,
plunging into the arctic waters to estimate the number of ice balls,
and more snowy fun!
Use the FREE "Snowball Fight" game to practice ordering numbers,
 finding the missing number,
 and creating a number line.
All these activities, and more, from one little freebie!
If you need more snowy fun, check out my Snowballs! Interactive Play Dough Mats. You can get it here. Use play dough to create numerals.
Create snowballs and squish to demonstrate one-to-one correspondence.
 Use ten frames to count and create.
 Use two different colors to solve addition sentences.
Or, use the snowball manipulatives that are included in the pack.
The interactive play dough pack now includes ten frame mats!
Try out a blank ten frame mat in the "Snowball Fight" freebie! Get your kids learning with hands-on fun!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Penguin Palooza!

It's time for penguins, penguins, PENGUINS!!! Penguins are one of my favorite animals. Whenever I look at them, I can't help smiling :)
A bunch of  The Primary Pack has gotten together for a Penguin Palooza! Join our penguin hop for freebies, ideas, and a giveaway with All Things Penguin! All this penguin cuteness may send me over the edge.

I'll start out with some penguin freebies!

My daughter is a little bit obsessed with "Go Fish". She loves playing it over and over and over. This can get quite tedious, except that this means she is practicing her sight words (or high frequency words) over and over and over! Knowing that she is getting so much exposure and practice with her words, washes the tedium away!
She does a great job with her sight words, so I wanted to move into some CVC practice. I wanted her to really focus on sounding out the words, so I wrote the word on each card with a different fish. She gets no picture help on the card, so she really needs to focus her energy on sounding out the word. What does this have to do with penguins? Well penguins eat fish!
My daughter brought Penny Penguin into the game, too. Penny is a penguin that I made a few years ago out of a Cascade container. You can see more about her here.
This penguin has had so many uses. We feed her letters, words, and numbers. She loves counting and has eaten many goldfish. I created a fishing game with a magnetic fishing pole to use with Penny Penguin. You can get see the game and get a  free copy here.
When playing "Go Fish", Penny Penguin gets to eat all the matches. To be able to win "Go Fish", each player has to read the word on each set of matches before Penny will eat them. This gives another opportunity for your kids to reread the words. Plus, they just love feeding the penguin.
Get your own free copy of "Short Vowel Go Fish" here.
I have one more freebie for you! This is an Arctic Animal Even & Odd Pack.
Kids can identify numerals 1-40 and sort them by even and odd numbers. It is another way to disguise rote practice in a game format. Kids love the adorable clip art and have fun putting the animals into the arctic environment. I just updated this freebie. If you already own it, go back and re-download.
There really is so much fun to have with penguins! Who can resist these adorable penguin shapes?? Imagine a whole class with penguin headbands. That will definitely get them practicing their shapes! You can find the penguin shapes pack here.
My kids love "Roll, Say, Keep"!  I have a few penguin themed "Roll. Say, Keep" games to practice alphabet letters & sounds, and sight words. You can check them out here! We are playing with letter sounds below.
I like to get kids up and moving whenever possible. Scavenger hunts or "Write The Room" activities are a great way to get their blood flowing. Add penguin wands and you have an engaging activity! You can see my alphabet scavenger hunt here and get a FREE copy of the penguin wands here. 
Get creative with your letter cards! I used the letter cards from the alphabet scavenger hunt to go on a penguin march. Use it in alphabetical order or mix it up. Kids can march around the alphabet to some "penguin themed" songs (I like to use the soundtrack from Winged Migration). Stop the music and everyone picks up the letter card in front of them. Turn to your partner, give a penguin waddle, and say your sound!
I hope you found some fun ideas to use with your little penguins!

Before you go, don't forget there's a Penguin Palooza sale! Head over to TeachersPayTeachers and type 'penguinpalooza' in the search engine, or click here. You will find bunches of penguin resources marked down just for Penguin Palooza!
 You can find all of my penguin fun on sale from January 14-19.

It wouldn't be Penguin Palooza without a giveaway! You can enter on the link below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do the penguin waddle to head over to all the stops on this Penguin Hop. You will be fully stocked with penguin goodies for the cold winter days ahead of us!

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