Little K and I team up to construct his very first set of Valentines for his classmates.
We use a photo from his hammerin’ heartsies experience and mount them on a piece of red construction paper.
I write “hammerin heartsies” on top.
He writes his name on the bottom.
He hasn’t ever really been asked to write his name, and he wasn’t so interested in doing it.
But a mom’s job sometimes, is to give a gentle nudge.
I gave him the schpeel…
“This a way to show your friends that you care, to put your special letters on this paper.”
He wrote his name 20 times.
“This is taking 100 years!”
These are some gentle ways to encourage this activity:
-Demonstrate how to hold the writing tool and how to write out the letters.
-Display the name. I folded a piece of paper that stood at the center of the table. We referred to it many times.
-Keep the project and supplies out so he can return to it at will.
-Add some other supplies that might act as comic relief, like stickers, cool markers and whole punchers.
-Spread the project out over a long period of time, working a little at a time to reach your goal.
-Be supportive by sitting with him/her while he/she works, so you can lend help when needed.
-Respond positively. Little K made a long line across the whole piece of paper as one of “K” parts. He started to look discouraged. I said, “Wow, that letter is so cool. It looked like a Rapunzel letter, it’s so long.”
We have a month until Valentine’s Day, a special day, when we show our family and friends how much we love them.
To prepare for our valentine making fest, we are doing a little bit of research.
We’ve checked lots of Valentine’s Day books out from the library. (Take it from someone that puts library books away, now is the time to check them out because in another week or two, they’ll be flying off the library book shelves.)
We have our sketchpads on the table, some heart shaped stencils and cookie cutters and our favorite mark making tools.
Time to brainstorm.
In the meantime, there are tools everywhere in the playroom lately. Little K takes out the foam base and pegs.
I draw dots in the shape of a heart on a piece of paper and he hammers a nail into each dot.
With each nail he hammers, he says, “hammerin a heartsies…hammerin’ heartsies…”
You don’t have to own this set to make this work.
You can also draw the dots on a sheet of paper, lay the paper on styrofoam, and hammer real nails or some golf t-s into each dot.
See this post when the boys played with hammer and styrofoam.
Here is a list of the Valentine’s Day Books we have checked out of the library:
Valentine’s Day by Anne Rockwell
Happy Valentine’s Day Curious George by N. Di Angelo
Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois
Little Bear’s Valentine by Else Holmelund Minarik
The Valentine Express by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
If You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
Lilly’s Chocolate Heart by Kevin Henkes
It’s time to take down the holiday decorations.
Little J is so broken hearted, especially about taking down the tree.
We decide to put the tree on the back porch after undressing it of its ornaments.
But then, it is all plain looking, so we decide to make suet to hang like ornaments.
We have the best suet recipe. Click on the link to go back to a post where I spell out the recipe.
We pack cookie cutters with the suet and put them outside to firm up in the cold. It’s been below 20 degrees F outside the past couple of days.
We pop the suet out of the cookie cutters and tie them with twine, hanging them on the tree.
We also hang the tree with painted sticks and stones made previously from another project.
Big K says he’s seen happy birds all over the tree.
The birds come out to feed right after the sun rises.
The After Christmas Tree is a book I found amongst the Christmas books at the library. It about a family that feels the after holiday blues and finds happiness by having a winter party. At the party they go ice skating, drink hot cocoa and decorate an old christmas tree with bird food ornaments.
I’ve been working as a page at the library 3 evenings a week for about 4 months now.
I re-shelve books,
help patrons find what they need,
prep craft projects for story times
and some clerical chores.
On some nights, when I haven’t been in for a while. There are mountains of books to be put away. On those nights, I touch 100s of books.
In this way, I get to explore.
These are the Hanukkah books that are HappyLittleMesses approved.
Some are traditional tellings of the Hanukkah story.
Some are silly, more modern takes of families celebrating the holiday.
Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah is full finger plays, poems, instructions on how to play dreidel, and to dance the Hora.
Letter on the Wind by Sarah Marwil Lamstein
The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
The Runaway Latkes by Leslie Kimmelman
Confused Hanukkah by Jon Koons
Hanukkah Oh, Hanukkah: Songs and Games to Share
Inside-Out Grandma by Joan Rothenberg
We learned all this info at the local library!
Flight of the Bats, to the tune of Saints Go Marching In
Oh when the bats, fly in the night
Oh when the bats fly in the night.
The mosquitoes better scatter,
when the bats fly in the night.
They use their screech, to search the dark
They use their screech to search the dark
they find their way, using sonar,
when they use their screech at night.
Oh when the sun, is on the rise,
Oh when the sun is on the rise,
The bats head back to the the rafters
when the sun is on the rise.
And when those bats, call it a night,
oh when those bats call it a night,
They hang upside down and hold on tight
When those bats call it a night. SHHHHHH!
Little J loves bats. He forgoes the Iron Man costume this Halloween for his handmade piecemeal bat costume from last Halloween.
I think the idea of Halloween can be even more fun after it happens. The kids’ love of dress up is rekindled, there is candy to enjoy and to remember the holiday with every sweet treat.
We decide to pull out a simple, hand tracing, bat craft the day after Halloween.
The kids trace their little hands on black or brown paper.
Cut them out, with or without adult help.
Draw and cut out a bat head.
Glue the wings onto the head.
Draw a face with white colored pencil.
A quick little craft like this one is a great excuse to archive the size of our little peoples’ hands and to practice and build up those small motor skills.
If you’re studying a unit about night creatures or if your child just really likes bats, you might want to check out these bat books.
1. Carve your pumpkin outdoors or cover work area with newspaper for easy clean up.
2. If kids don’t like to feel the insides with their bare hands, use a garden, rubber, or winter glove to remove pulp.
3. Dry the pumpkin with a cloth before drawing a face with Sharpie.
4. Talk to your kids about the parts of the face and let them draw and carve it themselves to the best of their ability. (Parent supervision and help is a given.)
5. Don’t dump seeds in the compost or you’ll have a surprise pumpkin patch in the spring when you use your soil for the garden. (I say this from personal experience.)
6. Roast the seeds in your oven or dry them in the sun for next year’s harvest. We’re doing both.
Three Great Pumkiny, Halloweeny Books
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell, tells the story of a little boy, who’s leftover decomposing pumpkin, plants seeds for the next jack o lantern.
Halloween by Harry Behn, Halloween poetry paired with beautiful illustrations of children out on Halloween night.
Pumpkin Moon by Tim Preston, tells the magical story of pumpkins on Halloween night after the trick or treating is over.
The boys and I are hard at work today, switching up what was the tool workshop.
It will now be a grocery store, with cart, wallets, babies, shelves full of products, bags for food, a register and walkie talkies.
The pretend food and accessories have been put away since the winter holidays when we dressed up this space with tools and assembly maps. Before that it was a pretend kitchen.
The first project inspired by this new arrangement is making play money.
The boys cut out rectangles of paper that I’ve drawn out for them, and they decorate them with sharpie markers. I find some up-cycled milk caps, the boys decorate these too, and we use these as coins.
The cash register we use originally came with play money, but that’s all long lost under couches and who knows where else. Making money is a fun project, we can talk and practice writing our numbers, discuss the value of money, and the play paper and plastic money is disposable. If we lose this money, which I’m sure we will, we can always make more.
At nature camp this summer, the kids take samples from a pond. They find a leech, 2 tadpoles, and 2 very cool bugs.
I pack a white tray, popsicle sticks, little clear jars and paper and drawing pen to go to one of our favorite places, the river.
We pull samples from different parts of the river: the shallow still waters, from a rock in the middle of the river and scooping muck from the bottom of the river.
We pour the samples onto the white tray and browse for living creatures with our pop sticks.
We find a leach, lots of water skimmers and something that looked like a tiny crayfish.
The kids become involved in catching lots of water skimmers.
When they are finished observing, we empty the contents of tray back into the river, and draw a picture of water skimmers together.
My very good little friend is taking a 6 hour drive tomorrow with his MOM and little sister.
This same little friend loves cars and knows a vehicle’s manufacturer by recognizing its logo.
He quizes himself as he and family drive around town.
“What’s that one MOM?”
For his long drive, I arrange car logos on a bingo card, for his sanity and his MOM’S.
If you want this card, feel free to copy and paste the pic or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be happy to send you the file.
Our town library is going to be renovating their children’s area. They need to raise lots of money in order to fund the project. They asked me if I would create a logo for the campaign. This is the first draft. Does anyone have any constructive criticism, some ideas of what children’s book titles, drawings I should put on the book spines?