Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Hooray For Fish" Mural

We created this fun mural the other day after reading the book "Hooray for Fish" by Lucy Cousins.

Ok, actually we've read the book a billion times the last several weeks. Love this book! It's a story about going along with Little Fish on a mesmerizing underwater tour of friends spotty and stripy, happy and gripy, hairy and scary, even curly whirly and twisty twirly. We like to take a pause after reading each page and decide which fish was our favorite on the page.

It is fun because the author made imaginary fish reminiscent of things like a butterfly, a leaf, a heart, a star, and a peacock (all pictured below). It's pretty fun letting the kids spot all the fish like that throughout the story.

To make our mural we started by cutting a piece of poster board in half. We wanted to add lots of fish so I chose to use a bigger piece of paper instead of a regular 8.5 x 11.

I've had bubble wrap stored away for months now for this project. We brushed some blue paint onto the bubble wrap.

Then pressed it onto our paper and carefully lifted it off.

After we done filling the entire paper, we had created our water background. This was a lot less time consuming than painting the entire paper blue, and a lot more fun!

Then I had Luke tell me which fish were his favorite in the story and I drew all of them with pencil onto white card stock paper, then outlined them with a permanent black marker. The story has the fish outlined in black so that's why we did it that way. I am not an artist by any means, so I just tried my best to copy the fish. Luke used markers to color the fish like in the story (I did help with some since this was such a time consuming project) and then we cut all the fish out. There were places of the black lines where Luke cut off, so I went back over the edges with a black marker after he was done cutting.

We then glued down some strips of green tissue paper as seaweed onto our water background and glued down all our fish to finish the mural.

Meet some of our fish:

Little Fish (the main character)

Fat fish

Peacock Fish

Scary Fish (Shark) Luke's favorite!

Mean Fish

Pineapple and Strawberry fish. We laugh about strawberry fish looking all frightened because Mr. Shark is looking hungry and he knows how good strawberries taste.

Heart Fish (You can see how the fish's fin & eye got a little mangled during cutting. That's why I simply outlined it with black marker again)

Fly fish

3 Fish

Star Fish

I really recommend this story! We just renewed it this week after having it for 3 weeks because my boys love reading it every night. I'm thinking it is pretty worthy of paying the money to purchase it.

This project took us the entire morning but Luke loved every minute of it (and so did I). So much more fun that doing the housework!!

Happy Crafting!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011 by wiwik · 0

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Educational Time Fillers

If your kids are anything like mine, they are always wanting to turn on the TV or play the Wii the instant there is a moment of boredom. As soon as Andy gets home from school he is ready to be a couch potato and beat a bunch of levels on Super Mario Bros. After a long day of school I do allow him to play after his homework is done for a while, but I am constantly on the look out for educational time fillers so the kids don't mindlessly waste their evening away.

One of my favorite time fillers is dry erase boards. My Mom gave my boys each a huge white board for their birthday last January because she knew how much they loved to draw and I had complained to her about how much paper they consumed weekly with their drawings. (Ok, seriously, for a while there, they were going through hundreds of sheets a week. it was OUT OF CONTROL!) She bought a big pack of different colored dry erase markers and even a package of Mr. Clean Erasers for any accidental markings anywhere. Here are some of their latest creations.

Ok, I know this pictures might be rated PG-13...What can I say, my child LOVES Carnivores....

My kids LOVE these boards! When my boys get these out they usually sit for over an hour just drawing, erasing, drawing, erasing. Having lots of colors to choose from makes the activity a lot more exciting. And the best part, they aren't using my entire printer full of paper! They even color pictures together.

I also found these smaller dry erase boards at Target in the $1 section. I love them because they are lined so we can practice writing. I usually give Luke a couple different letters to practice and Andy some high frequency words to practice.

We usually get these boards out around dinner time and the boys sit at the table while I'm cooking dinner so we are all interacting together. It is a great time to discuss with Andy what he learned at school that day. Most days I also have him write on the board what he wrote in his journal at school that day, so we can talk about it, review it, and also go over any words he misspelled.

This particular day was fun because he wrote "I know patterns are colors and shapes." So after we reviewed how to write "colors" and "shapes" he drew me some corresponding patterns at the bottom with patterns and shapes. It was so much fun!

Before Luke knew how to write his name, I found a package of name tags at Dollar Tree, wrote his name in dashed lines, and had it laminated so he could write on it with dry erase marker to practice, and then it just wipes right off.

He has his first name down perfectly now, so we are starting to work on his last name with this same technique.

Last week we also purchased this fun dry erase board at Wal-Mart.

You can flip through the different boards to practice uppercase letters, lowercase letters, shapes and shape words, numbers, draw and write, and addition practice.

It's been a hit around here this past week and will be really useful with Luke this next year before he starts Kindergarten.

I'm sure you can tell we have a love for dry erase boards at our house, but we also have a great love for our Doodle Pros. Luke and I practice writing letters, numbers and shapes on it all the time and one of my boys' favorite things to do is create Angry Birds scenes on them. When I won't let them play video games, it's the next best thing. I get a kick out of it every time.

What educational time fillers do you use in your house??

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 by wiwik · 0

Monday, August 22, 2011

"I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean" with Craft

Remember when I made this cute little guy a couple months ago after reading "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean"??? If you missed, I re-posted it the other day and you can read it HERE.

Well, we read another fun book in the series, "I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean" so he is currently sporting a new mustache.....

I simply cut it out of black felt to match the story and away we went reading the fun story with our puppet in hand.

After reading the story we decided to make our own masterpieces, on a whale of course (just like in the story). I started by drawing a whale on a piece of watercolor paper with black crayon.

Then the boys used a black crayon to draw pictures on their whale. We also drew some smaller fish around the whale just to add more to the picture.

We finished our creation by getting out the watercolors and painting our whale and fish. The boys loved how the crayon resisted the watercolors. We've never done this before (don't know why) so they were pretty fascinated by it.

Their creations turned out lovely and they felt like artists!

Happy Crafting!!

Monday, August 22, 2011 by wiwik · 0

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean" with Squid Activity

A couple weeks ago I guest posted on Little Lucy Lu. I decided I wanted to go ahead and publish that post on my blog today because we are going to read another story in that series this week and I wanted to make sure you didn't miss out on our first activity.

This week we read the story "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean" by Kevin Sherry. It is a short, funny story about a giant squid who goes about bragging to all the creatures in the ocean about how he is bigger than them. He soon encounters a whale who obviously is bigger than him, but do you think that stopped his bragging?? You'll have to read it to find out!  :)

After previewing the book before reading it to my children I thought it would be super cool to make my very own squid who could be there to help me tell the story in his squid-like voice. I also thought this would be a fun way to read this story in a Preschool or Kindergarten Classroom. Pictured below is the giant squid in the story who was the inspiration behind my creation.

After formulating a couple ideas and gathering some supplies, I hauled up my sewing machine from the basement (no craft room, sigh...) and got to work....I'd like to introduce Mr. Squid...

Yes, I really did mimic those bulging eyes on the squid from the story. Aren't they cute?

Here is Luke holding him.Yes he is wearing his pajamas, and yes, we enjoy doing crafty things in the morning immediately after eating our bowl of cereal. haha 

I'll tell you how I made this guy in a minute but first I wanted to share with you what we did with him after he helped read the story for us. Since the book was about measurement I decided it was a great opportunity for my Preschooler to swim Mr. Squid around the house and find things that were smaller and bigger than him. This could obviously be done in a classroom too.

After Luke found several items we laid them side-by-side and he told me if the item was bigger or smaller than the squid.

We also lined several items up together and decided which was smallest, which was biggest, and I asked questions such as "Is the pencil bigger than the squid?" Luke had a BLAST doing this and my 6yr old even wanted in on the action.

Luke loved the squid so much he wanted to make his very own so we got out some more supplies and made paper squids.

Materials you need:
-2 sheets of blue construction or card stock paper
-1 sheet of white construction or card stock paper.
-black marker
-2 large wiggly eyes (LOVE those things!)
-glue stick

1. Draw a squid body on one sheet of the blue paper, and draw 2 circles for eyes, and a mouth on the white paper. Use the other blue sheet of paper to cut out the legs for the squid. I cut mine curvy and we used 5 legs for the squid.

2. Have your child cut out all the parts for the squid.

3. Use the glue stick to glue the eyes and mouth on the squid.

4. Turn the squid over and glue your legs to the back of the squid.

5. Now just glue your wiggly eyes into the white eyes and you are done! Super simple and fun!

Now want to know how to make the stuffed squid??? I made sure to trace all my pieces on paper for you so I could share the pattern. You can download it HERE and HERE. It is 2 different files so you will need to download and print both.

Materials you will need:
-5 to 6 sheets of blue felt
-1 sheet of white felt
-small piece of black felt for eyes (I just used scraps I had)
-fabric glue (unless you want to sew the black eyes on)

1. Cut out all your pieces. With using the pattern you should have 3 large triangles, 1 smaller triangle, 2 white circles, a white mouth and 2 black small circles. Not included in the pattern are the 10 legs. I simply cut 1" strips out of the blue felt and rounded the corners on one end.

2. Sew your white mouth onto one of your large triangles.

3. Sew a big triangle to each side of the face, making sure the seam is on the back of the face. Seriously, double check this because I accidentally made this mistake and had to start all over once. hahaha (I'm a beginner what can I say!) It should look like this at this point.

4. Next I made my eyes and sewed them on. Start by sewing a running stitch all the way around the eye, 1/4" from the edge.

5. Start drawing it up tight by pulling the tail of your thread. Make sure to leave just enough room to stuff it full of fiberfill.

6. After filling it with fiberfill, pull it tight and tie a firm knot. I just went ahead and left the thread tail and needle attached and sewed it directly on the squid face at this point. Repeat for second eye and attach it to the squid face also.

7. Now finish sewing together the back seam of the body.

8. Next, turn the body wrong side out and sew the smaller triangle onto the bottom of the body on all three sides, leaving just enough room on the back of the squid to turn it right side out and fill with fiberfill. After it's stuffed with fiberfill, sew your open hole. (Before sewing on the smaller triangle I placed my body on top of the triangle to check the fit. I suggest doing this in case you need to adjust the size a bit before sewing it on.)

9. Take your 10 legs and pin them where you'd like them on the bottom of the squid. Sew them by hand onto the bottom of the squid. (it really doesn't take the long)

10. When you flip it over it looks like this.

11. All you have to do now is glue on the black pupils using fabric glue and let it dry completely.

I hope you enjoyed this activity and enjoy all the new friends you have at your house. I know my kids do!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011 by wiwik · 0

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