Friday, February 22, 2013

Not the Usual Princess stories

Miss K became Pink & Princess obsessed around the age of Three and a half.  If we had let her, I swear, she would have watched Barbie movies 24/7. Thankfully she liked all things Princess, not just Disney and Barbie. The only thing that kept DH and I sane were books that featured nontraditional Princesses. 

Today I have a list of newer (and re-released) titles for other parents who need a break from Disney and Barbie....

Princess Addison gets angry (by Molly Martin & illustrated by Mélanie Florian) is about a little Princess who gets mad (and throws a tantrum) when she can’t play outside. Mini Piwi really liked it and connected with little Addison. I really like that the Mother was very comforting and not simply  saying ‘Princesses don’t behave like that!’. Instead she has given Addison ideas about how to vent in better ways. This title would be appropriate for most young children as it teaches them that it is ok to be frustrated and how to deal with those feelings. The main character is a Princess but the book is written in a way that could appeal to non-princess fans. The illustrations are fun and really bring the characters to life. We will be looking for the rest of the books in the Princess Heart series. 

I read the Paper bag princess (by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko)   when I was Miss K’s age and loved it. I instantly recalled the pictures of the sleepy looking dragon when I heard the title again. Princess Elizabeth is to be married to a pompous Prince when he is kidnapped by a dragon. With a twist on the usual Fairy tale, it is the Princess who sets off to rescue the Prince. Elizabeth is one smart spunky girl who isn’t going to let anyone else determine her happily ever after. This is definitely a modern classic and I was thrilled when my own girls liked it as much as I did ‘back in the day’.
The messages the book sends:
  • Girls aren’t any less powerful or resourceful than boys.
  • Happily ever after isn’t like the movies!
  • If someone treats you badly you don’t have to stick around and put up with it.
The Poodle and the Pea by Charlotte Guillain, stays true to the traditional story of the Princess and the pea-except that all the characters are poodles.  I was hoping there would be some other twist to it but there really isn’t other novelty to it except for the illustrations of poodles dressed up in fancy clothes and living in a castle.. Overall it is a short and easy to read book for early readers. The Piwis thought it was pretty funny especially the Prince Poodle.

Want more book ideas?
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Netgalley sent the digital copies of the following books in return for an honest review.: The Poodle and the Pea, by Charlotte Guillain. (Capstone raintree, 2013), Paper bag princess, by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko (Annick press, Kindle ed. 2012). Princess Addison gets angry, by Molly Martin; illustrated by Mélanie Florian (Picture window books, 2013)
I will not receive any monetary compensation from Netgalley or the books’ respective publishers. Any links to Amazon are affiliate links.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DIY Glitter paint

The Piwi's love paint, all kinds of paint. We do have it in small quantities but we don't have all the different one the Piwi's drool over in craft sections. We have learn't the hard way that paint does not relocate very well.

Instead of buying different types of paints I  have been experimenting with our existing art supplies and trying to come up with different ways to use it.

This week's inspiration was glitter paint...

Basically we mixed glitter glue and paint -sounds simple enough until I tried it. If you mix tempera pain and glitter glue together it makes a thick goopy lumpy paint. The glitter no longer sparkled in the light. It was still fun to paint with though as it was a different texture and dried extra glossy.
Here is picture Mini Piwi  painted from this version:

After a bit of experimenting we found a way to make the glue and paint mix so that the glitter wasnt covered in paint.

Hows how:
  1. Squeeze your chosen paint onto a tray 
  2. Swirl the glue onto the surface of the paint 'blob'.
  3. Leave it alone for about 5 minutes and the glue will begin to mix with the paint.
  4. Paint!

Mini Piwi had great fun!

Other mash up art supply projects:
Pre K Monet with Dot Markers

Using Oil Pastels in lieu of paint when we are traveling

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

George Washington unit & Sculpting Mt Rushmore

Just in time for Presidents day, George Washington was the focus of this week's literature link in Miss K's Language arts curriculum.
The readings in the work book included a simple biography and the legend of Washington and the cherry tree. Miss K really enjoyed several days of timeline comprehension activities that tested her comprehension.

To extend our lessons the Piwi's explored some of art that Washington inspired.
The first piece was Mt Rushmore. We visited the Mt Rushmore National memorial website and took a virtual tour. We also downloaded the student guide. Miss K wasnt too sure it could be considered a piece of art so we checked out the definition.

Macmillian dictionary defines a 'Work of art' (noun) as:
Although the sculpting techniques were on a very large (and explosive) scale we all agreed that it met the definition of a Work of Art.

The Piwi's made their own Mt Rushmore Paper Sculptures from paper bags. This is Miss K's art work.  I will post Mini Piwi's separately as she did a few different activities.
 Miss K colored in pictures of the Presidents carved into Mt Rushmore. She glued them in the correct order on to a large paper bag.

She scrunched and folded, and held parts in place with staples. Here is the finished product!

Along with the readings in the Student workbook, here are the books we used for this unit...

Books to read and make for little helpers

Mini Piwi and I read two new books together: board books are written by Hazel Hutchins and illustrated (very cutely) by Gosia Mosz.

Cat Comes Toois about a little Kitten who follows her person up to the attic and gets into all sorts of mischief.  The words are repetive and fun to say, like  'to tippy and too Lumpy and bumpy'.

Dog Comes Too is about a little dog that joins his person on a hike up a big hill. Like the kitten he also small and has to find ways to overcome obstacles. This book introduces cause and effect to lil ones, for example, the water is 'too deep' so he takes a 'big swim'. There are several words that are repeated throughout this book as well.

 After reading both titles several times Mini Piwi was enjoying 'reading' from memory or using the pictures to guess what it says. There is also a little friend throughout the book that Mini Piwi loved finding on each page.

Being fun and bright and in board book format, they are definitely ideals for toddlers and Pre-K. However, it it could also be used for early readers because of repetitive text and pictures kids can infer text from. I would recommend purchasing this for babies and toddlers as it is one they will enjoy for years to come. If you are checking it out of your local library (when they purchase it :-)) then it would be great for 0-5 years.

We extended the books with an activity because I felt it touched on a current frustration for 3 year old Mini Piwi. She is often left feeling disappointed when she can't do everything she sees her big Sis doing and often refers to her self as 'too small'. We used the book as a way to talk about all the ways she can help.

Using all her ideas I made up a little book for her to make and illustrate with stickers.
Find the printable for this project here: I'm not too little to help mini book

Make your your own I'm not too little to help mini book (free printable)

I was sent Cat comes too & Dog comes too in exchange for an honest review. to be submitted to Annick Press, via Netgalley. I will not receive any monetary compensation from the publisher or Netgalley. The links to Amazon do contain affiliate links where I do receive a small commission for any purchases made through these link.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Plans for Lent: Helping, Giving & Kitties

Over the weekend we took the Piwi’s to visit their Kitty friends at Friends for life.  Miss K would love to volunteer at a shelter but is too young (even if I was there, there are legal/safety issues preventing it). For now the Piwis and I just go to adoption events once or twice a month and hang out and play with the cats. Just before Christmas the kids had asked to buy some toys & treats for the shelter. They were so proud to make their ‘donation’ and wanted to do it again.
Perry gets a kiss from Mini Piwi
Their chance came when Mr Perry had decided not to eat the wet food Piwi Daddy had purchased for him -it was case of 24. I was going to take it down to the local Petco and donate it. Miss K had a better idea  and ultimately made a ‘Valentines day gift basket’. 

Here she is ready to take it in to the cats….

They know many of the long term Cat residents by name and their toy preferences. The volunteers there were so kind and made a big fuss about how nice the gift basket looked and how much the cats would like it. Miss K was beaming! We always ask after any of the kitties that aren’t there and this week we found out that two of them were recently adopted into their fur- ever homes.  It was a very good visit!
Most of the cats were out playing but some decided to nap in their 'condos'

It was also a great start to our Lenten focus: Giving and helping others. Usually during Lent, I have given something up, but this year we wanted to try something more positive as a Family. Our inspiration was some amazing work being done on Missions by equally amazing relatives.

I was wondering where to start with incorporating the theme into our lessons when I came across The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving by Erin Sapin. The book itself is great with parts to fill in and lots of ideas. Even better though is that there is a Christian teachers guide at which includes lesson plans to use with the book from a Christian perspective . We plan to do these lessons along with our easter catechism lessons. 

Another great book (by Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good) is one I reviewed recently.  Change the World before Bedtime uses cute illustrations and rhyming prose to explain how a little boy can become a ‘super hero’ and change the world by bedtime. It offers simple ways and ideas for service projects that even the littlest volunteers can help out with. Mini Piwi especially liked this book with it's busy pictures full of little details for her to point out.
We are really looking forward to this project and are positive it will be something we can take beyond Lent 2013 as a family.

I was sent Change the world before bedtime in exchange for an honest review. to be submitted to Schiffer Publishing Ltd, via Netgalley. I will not receive any monetary compensation from the publisher or Netgalley. The links to Amazon do contain affiliate links where I do receive a small commission for any purchases made through these link.