Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Simple Butterfly Craft

Crafting with the Pre K and K age group can sometimes be a little tricky. The kids of course are younger and often we are working groups. So, I usually end up with a simpler craft so that all the kids can join in and the activity is relatively hands off!
This is the point at which, I get embarrassed about the state of our windows. Ahem.. it had rained the before, really.. it had.

But as you can see the craft is simple - we "recycled" some old subject dividers that I had. I created basic shapes for the children (aged 1yrs - 4yrs) and they got to use some permanent markers and collored them in to their hearts content.

It is a great activity to span the age groups - as younger children can engage in mark making, whilst the older ones can create their butterflies and ladybirds from scratch themselves... and then colour and cut as well.


Maggy Woodley, is a mum of two. You will usually find her over at Red Ted Art, Life at The Zoo and Theatre Books and Movies! Watch out for Red Ted Art, launching in German, Spanish and Russian SOON!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My All-Time Favorite Repurpose Idea

Magnet Play the RePurpose Way at PreK+K Sharing

It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose. 

On my first post on this collaborative blog, I mentioned my three favorite repurposed items. But one, by far, remains the top idea. Not just with me but with anyone that sees it. A post about it on Brick by Brick (posted three years ago) remains one of my most viewed posts.

It's the magnet board from an oil drip pan.

The kids in my church kindergarten class have enjoyed it regularly. We use all kinds of magnets on it. (Even homemade ones.)

We sometimes put it flat on a table. Play changes as the surface changes.

We put sticky paper on it.

It also makes a really great portable display board. Use magnets or tape to attach your posters. Then move it to wherever you need it. Remove when you need space for something else. It works great.

I have loved this idea for a while. But I didn’t have one in my new elementary class last year. So, I went out and purchased two for my class this year.

When I moved to my new school (unexpectedly) this week, one of the teachers saw them. "You have magnet boards," she said. "Great! Where did you get them?" So I told her to go to the automotive section of Walmart to find them.

Lightweight, portable, magnetic – it’s the best all-around repurpose idea of all!

What’s your favorite object to repurpose?

Friday, August 16, 2013


Hello  Everybody, How Do You Do?
   Hi from Miss Carole at Macaroni Soup!  It’s here – or just around the corner, depending on your location!  The First Day of School 2013/14!  For most young children it’s exciting, a little scary or just an entrĂ©e into the unknown!

   Did you forget to have a new song ready?  Everything goes better with music!  Singing smooths out separation anxiety, channels excess energy and is accessible to children of all abilities!

   Here are 5 songs to get your through your first week.  Listen to them at the links provided to the Song of the Month pages on my Macaroni Soup website. They’re all easy-to-learn, kid-tested and Teacher Approved!  (AND they are ALL on my Sticky Bubble Gum cd!)  As you add a song each day, be sure to repeat the previous day’s song.  By the end of the week, you’ll have a whole 15-20 minute Music Time going!  Whoo-hoo!

DAY 1: Hello Everybody, How Do You Do?
Hello everybody, how do you do? 
How do you do? How do you do? 
Hello everybody, how do you do? 
I love you, to-day!
I love you to-day - on Day One?  YES!

If you like the color red, pat your head!
(pause, encouraging children to pat their head)

If you like the color blue, pat your shoe! 
(pause, encouraging children to find their shoe) 

If you like the color green, pat your knees! (demonstrate where the knees are!) 

I love you, to-day!

Other things you might add to verses:
If you like choo choo trains, blow your whistle! Toot Toot! 
If you like ice cream, say yum!
 (rub your tummy!) 
If you like dinosaurs, let me hear you roar! ROAR!!!!

     NOTE:  for instructions about motions for the chorus, check out the link!)

My foot is starting to wiggle!
DAY 2:  The Wiggle Song!

Tune:  “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”

My hands are starting to wiggle
My hands are starting to wiggle
My hands are starting to wiggle
Around and around and around!  (turn in place)
   (more verses: feet, hips, head, now all of me is a-wiggle)

DAY 3:  Sticky Bubble Gum
We blow a pretend bubble first - how big can they make it before it pops - these girls are finding out!   

Sticky sticky sticky bubble gum
Bubble gum, bubble gum
Sticky sticky sticky bubble gum
Sticking your hands to your shoes!

Toe to nose - spectacular!

Stick knees to elbows, toe to nose, hand to someone else’s hand, or head to the floor!  Yes, this is my signature song – because kids LOVE it!  Make up your own verses, and have the kids make up verses once they know the song well.  I clap from side to side – cross-lateral movement is a plus! 
    Couple this song with Bubble Gum, BubbleGum by Lisa Wheeler and you’ve got your whole Circle Time!
    There's also a video of this song on my website!

DAY 4:  Little Ol’ Wagon

WAGON BOARD with color cards
    This song takes a little prep (hence I made it Day 4!)  You can make a wagon board – on posterboard make a picture of a wagon.  Laminate it.  Put a piece of Velcro in the middle of the rectangle.  Cut rectangles of different colored paper the same size as the shape on your wagon board.  Laminate each rectangle.  Stick a piece of Velcro on the back of each colored rectangle, and you’re ready to sing!
Tune:  “Skip To My Lou”

Little ol’ wagon painted red
Little ol’ wagon painted red
Little ol’ wagon painted red
Skip to my Lou, my darlin’!

    I ask the children to pick a “magic word” to change the color after each verse.  I’ve heard everything from “shazam” to “please!”  Make some kooky rectangles, too – such as polka dots, stripes, kisses, etc.

DAY 5:  Hi Dee Ho!
Raise your arms up to the sky!

“tune”:  It’s that Marine Marching Cadence!

Hi dee  Hi dee  Hi dee  Ho!       (kids echo)
Wiggledy wiggledy wiggledy Whoa!  (echo)
Raise your arms up to the sky!    (echo)
Make a smile and wave bye bye!  (echo)

   This is easy – get the kids’ attention with the first line, then indicate that it’s their turn to sing it back to you by pointing and nodding to them. 
Line 2: Get your best wiggle on. 
Line 3, shoot your arms straight up in the air! 
Line 4:  point to your mouth (which is smiling) and then wave one hand.

    Whew – week one taken care of!  Keep singing through Week Two – and all year long!
Yours for a Song! (or 5)
“Miss Carole” Stephens
Macaroni Soup! Active Music for Kids!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Montessori-Inspired Police Activities Using Free Printables

Free Police Printables and Montessori-Inspired Police ActivitiesBy Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

A police unit study can be used at any time, although you might want to use it to emphasize safety skills at the start of the school year or in observance of the anniversary of 9-11. For my post today, I want to share some activities using free police printables. The hands-on activities in this post are for preschoolers through kindergarteners. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities.  

Disclosure: This post contains a Montessori Services affiliate link at no cost to you.

How Many Fingerprints? Activity
How Many Fingerprints?

This activity used a free printable from the Police Printables ~ Preschool Packet at Homeschool Creations. It also uses an ink pad, stapler, and inexpensive tray from the grocery store. After the child places the correct number of fingerprints on each page, a "How Many Fingerprints?" booklet could be created.

Catch the Robber Math Game 

Catch the Robber Math Game

This tray uses the Catch the Robber printable from 2 Teaching Mommies. I used an inexpensive wooden tray from a hobby store and glass gems as the game pieces. The printable has a numbered die with the numbers from 1-3. I used a regular die with 1-6 dots, but you can choose the die according to your child's or students' level. 

You could also make this into a cooperative game. See "How to Use Cooperative Games to Teach Sportsmanship" for ideas on using educational games cooperatively.

Learning to Call 911

Learning to Call 911 Activity

I Can Teach My Child has a creative printable for Learning to Dial 9-1-1 along with helpful ideas for introducing 9-1-1. Children could practice calling 911 first on the printable, then on a cordless phone, and then on a cell phone. I cut out extra numbers from the printable so the children could place the numbers 9-1-1 in the order needed in an emergency.

Police Badge Punching Activity 

Police Badge Punching Activity

For this tray, I printed out a Hero Badge from Pastiche Family Portal. I used punching materials from Montessori Services, which I especially like for their safety. Children with good cutting skills could use scissors rather than a puncher if desired. 

There are also other types of badge printables in my Free Police Printables and Montessori-Inspired Police Activities post at Living Montessori Now. Just use whichever badge printable works best for your child or students.

Police Car Skip Counting by 2s to 100 

Police Car Skip Counting by 2s to 100 Activity

For this activity, I used the Numberline Freebies from City Teacher Goes Country. There are also police car numbers in the printable for counting by 10s, although I chose counting by 2s to 100 for this activity. Many children like big projects and would enjoy placing the numbers in order by twos in a long line across the floor. 

 Police Station and Police Car Craft 

Police Car and Police Station Craft

This is an activity for children with advanced cutting and assembly skills. I used Police Station and Police Car printables from Canon Creative Park. This could even be a gift that an older child could prepare for younger siblings.

More Free Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to more police freebies from around the blogosphere: Free Police Printables and Montessori-Inspired Police Activities.

Wishing you a wonderful start to the new school year!
Living Montessori Now
Deb ChitwoodDeb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in Colorado Springs with her husband of 38 years and their cat of 12 years. She blogs at Living Montessori Now. 

Linked to Tuesday Tots, The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions at Milk and Cuddles and Crystal & Co., The Weekly Kid’s Co-op, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, TGIF Linky Party, Preschool Corner, Sharing Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Show-and-Share Saturday, The Sunday Showcase, Link & Learn, and Afterschool Express.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dance Brain Breaks


With another school year rolling around, this is a good time to have some quick tricks handy whenever the children (or you!) need a quick break and energizer:  a Dance Brain Break!

Here are three lively ideas (Start Fidgeting, Gestures, and Up and Down with Counting) that take very little space and can be done whenever and wherever needed.
(adapted from my Redleaf e-news article Just Add Movement:  Five Activities That Can Turn Squirming Into Learning)


Fidget Different Parts of the Body:

Say to the children, "Can you fidget your arm?  Your thumb?  Your heel?  Your tongue?  Your legs (both at the same time?)?  Your  torso?  Your head? (etc.)  Then say, "Try to fidget as many body parts as you can at the same time!"

Fidget and Freeze:

Say to the children, "Everyone fidget and squirm as much as you can while standing in one place. But when I say 'freeze,' everyone do the opposite, and stand as

still as possible."  Repeat several times. 

Then add counts:  "Can you fidget for 8 counts?" (freeze in between).  "Can you fidget for 10 counts?  Can you fidget for 2 counts?

Fast and Slow Fidgets:

"First fidget as slowly as you can, like a slow motion action scene in a movie.  Even blink in slow motion!

Now squirm and fidget as fast as you can!"

Repeat several times.

Good-Bye, Fidgets!

To finish the brain break fidgeting activity, ask everyone to wave good-bye to their fidgets.  "Wave good-bye with your hand, then your foot, then your knee, then your head, etc., and then try to wave them all at the same time!  'Say, good-bye fidgets'!" 

Optional: Play an upbeat song or instrumental like "Shakers" by Debbie Clement for this part of the activity.


Have children think of as many gestures as they can. Ask them if they can think of ways to say things with their bodies instead of their voices; for example, by shrugging their shoulders, pointing, shaking or nodding their head, making faces, stomping their feet, or hugging. Ask children to try to have a short conversation using only gestures. If you wish to extend the idea, set a time limit, perhaps fifteen minutes, during which everyone can communicate only with gestures.



This is a quick game to grab the attention of little ones, and is a good way to get children sitting on the floor for a seated activity. Make sure the children are at least an arm's width apart from each other. Ask them if they can get from standing to sitting in five slow counts, using all five counts to get to the floor. Once they’re on the floor, ask them to repeat the activity, this time going from sitting to standing. Then reduce the count to four slow beats, and then three etc. When you get to the "one" count, slow down even more so that the children are falling in a safe, controlled way, catching themselves gently with their hands, and then repeat the single count up and down several times, finishing with the children sitting on the floor.

Expand the idea by starting with a higher number.  Another idea is to count forward on the way down, and backward on the way up.  Repeat several times for a quick workout!

Keep on Dancin',


Copyright 2013 Connie Bergstein Dow

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Treat Me Like I'm Someone You Love

yelling, parenting, punishment, bill corbett, discipline, spanking, reprimanding, kids, children, child, girl, mother, parent, discipline
I was shopping at the local “big box” store in town recently.  As I was walking out into the parking lot, I noticed a mother walking in front of me with a preschooler-aged little boy and a little girl of probably 8 or 9.  The mother was yelling at the little girl to “Get back here… NOW!”  The little girl seemed mad about something and she was walking a few feet ahead of the woman.

When the mother yelled (and quite loud I must say), the girl would immediately stop in her tracks, arms folded, face down and with a huge frown.  As the mother caught up to the girl, she yelled at her with a phrase something like “If you walk ahead of me one more time, you’re gonna get it when we get home!”  But as soon as the mother was almost within an arm’s reach to her, the little girl would quickly walk ahead.”

This went on for the entire walk out into the parking lot.  With the constant threats and the woman’s growing anger, I feared the mother might hit her daughter (assuming she was her daughter).  Customers passing us by, quickly looked the other way .  She had a very big build and sounded and looked tired and angry.  I was afraid she was going to have had enough with the girl.

I’ve witnessed this incident many times in the past and I think because I am a parent educator, I feel very sensitive to the situation.  I can feel the mother’s pain of being tired, stressed and angry, and not in need of anyone adding to what she already feels.  And I can feel for the little girl who may be acting this way because she is mad about something that occurred between her and her mother earlier.  It seems like a no-win situation that could quickly get out of hand if the mother is not able to control her anger. 

My friend and pediatrician Susan Markel, MD asks parents to avoid losing control at all costs.  Chapter 8 in her book What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child (BenBella Books;2010) is titled Treat Me Like I’m Someone You Love.  In it she warns parents that taking your anger or frustration out on your child is likely to lead them to feeling like there is something wrong with them.

If you ever find yourself in this situation with your children, remain calm, stop talking and give up the urge to control the outcome.  Take several deep breaths and get yourself and your children home quickly.  Take a break as soon as you can and know that you are human and need breaks from the kids now and again.  I love that Dr. Markel also says “Behavior is not taught to children by talking about it.  Rather, correct behavior is demonstrated, observed and experienced… children learn to be nice by having someone be nice to them.”

Bill Corbett, parenting classes, longmeadow montessori
Bill Corbett is the author of the award-winning parenting book series, LOVE, LIMITS, & LESSONS: A PARENT'S GUIDE TO RAISING COOPERATIVE KIDS (in English and in Spanish) and the executive producer and host of the public access television show CREATING COOPERATIVE KIDS. As a member of the American Psychological Association and the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology, Bill provides parent coaching and keynote presentations to parent and professional audiences across the country. He sits on the board of the Network Against Domestic Abuse and the Resource Advisory Committee for Attachment Parenting International, and holds several degrees in clinical psychology. Bill's practical experience comes as a father of 3 grown children, a grandfather of two, and a stepdad to three.  You can learn more about his work at and

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Educational FUN in Summer Time!


As an amazing summer starts slipping away I want to share a little piece of my world in July and give you information for July 2014………………just one year away.  If you plan to treat yourself to an amazing conference somewhere in this big world keep in touch with FROG STREET.
In my OPINION, it is the best conference in the entire USA.  They have a Pre-K curriculum that is outstanding and each member of their staff has the best attitude about their Froggie world.

Meet the Frog Street Leaders:
Bill, Jay, Sharon, Ron, Amy
A group dedicated to the value of a great early childhood education for all children.

There is always an area for photo shoots and it is a busy place during the whole conference.  Special times are set up to get photos with Fannie and Fernando.
Workshops are conducted by some of my favorite people.  Check out the group……….many of these people are part of the original DREAM TEAM gathered by Ron Chase, Sharon Burnett and Pam Schiller.

The world of Pre-K educational resources changed and offers the best of the best.
Thursday is an intensive day filled with make/take experiences, Curriculum instructions and seeing old friends.

Pete the Cat producer Michael Levine rocked the stage with his music and visuals about how Pete the Cat has become a household name.  Michael is the musical master of "The Learning Groove!"  His music is the music that thousands of children and teachers are singing every day.

Thursday evening is always an invitation for everyone to jive and jam with Don Monolopi, Stephen Fite, Mary Jo Huff, Frog Street’s newest crooner Jay, Shawn Brown.  Upper right is Don with Mary Jo and the bottom left is Don and Stephen  acting like Sonny and funny.  The middle has Don, Stephen and Jay.  The two upper right pictures are Greg and Steve having some fun.  Mary Jo is in the bottom rt. corner telling a fun story about Rabbit and Snake with the audience.

Late night fun captured all the techie enthusiast even some in their pajamas.  Debbie Clement blasted my mind with her internet expertise................I don' t have enough brain left to even absorb all the daily changes in this area of our world. 
Friday begins a full day of workshops geared for educational connections and invites to learn the best there is from the best presenters to be found.  There are Keynotes and give-a-ways galore.
Friday evening ALL attendees are treated to a sit down dinner, live music, huge give-a-ways……..I mean dollars, big dollars and even a free registration for the following year.  The staff at Frog Street is introduced and the owners are given a standing ovation.  The music plays on and on but this lady retired for the evening because my 3 workshops were all scheduled on Saturday.

What a thrill to see the room fill up with anxious Early Childhood Educators……………that is a big crank for me and I seem to talk faster and faster because I have so much to say and so many ideas to share.
Two new workshops were introduced this year and will become part of what I can do.
Catching a 6:00 a.m. flight at the Dallas airport gave me time to take a nap on the way to Detroit.  It is always good to come home but when you have a Frog Street experience under your skin you keep an itching to return and start making plans for the following year.
So, YOU ALL make plans to have the best time of your life in San Antonio, TX in 2014. Keep in touch with the web site
Watch my web site for some new information.  I have put together several programs that can come to you via SKYPE.  I will come to you as an IN-HOUSE-FIELDTRIP.
We are working out the kinks and then I am ready to be aired by hundreds of kids across the waves………………bringing a special, unique presentation filled with music, movement, stories (some old and some original), poems, puppets and finger plays.  All presentations align with CCSS and Early Childhood Foundations.
Watch for a preview.  I will come to you with over 35 years of exciting, educational fun and I still  have a passion and excitement about telling stories with children.

Mary Jo



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