Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Easter Bonnet Parade

An Easter Bonnet represents the tail-end of a tradition of wearing new clothes at Easter. So I'm all for any excuse to make a new hat to wear. Beautiful bonnets are a must at every Easter parade, those made with such love and worn with such pride as the little legs often carry the heavy load on top. This year is Master 4's first Easter Hat parade at Kinder and I have to admit he is very excited, and so is his mum! Together we had great fun chatting about what colours we should use and what the colours of Easter represent. While we worked on the hat together it gave me an opportunity to talk to Master 4 about the meaning behind the Easter Celebration and why we use certain symbols to represent this time. (Egg/Chickens represent New Life) He is becoming increasingly interested in the stories we read from his Children's Bible and enjoys the opportunity to ask me questions. We really had great fun spending the afternoon creating his masterpiece which I know will be worn with such pride as he walks with his classmates tomorrow morning.

Prior to going to the discount store to buy bits and pieces to make the Easter hat, I had chatted to Master 4 about the colours that represent Easter within our church. He then decided that he would like to make a purple and yellow hat. We had so much fun looking for everything for his hat.

We bought some cheap polystyrene eggs that Master 4 enjoyed painting in purple and yellow and then rolled in glitter. When you paint polystyrene I always find it easier to put a kebab stick into it to hold while you paint. Put the sticks into an apple while they dry evenly.

Here is the master piece! I love the way we were able to bring patterning into the activity as Master 4 decided he wanted to patterned the feathers around the edge of the hat. (purple/yellow/purple/yellow etc)
While we were waiting we had a go at baking these super cute Easter Bonnet Biscuits from a recipe I found.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
Decorations, such as frosting, tubes of decorating gel, sprinkles, fruit leather

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, then stir in the dry ingredients and combine well.
Divide the dough and roll it into 2 logs, one about 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter, and one about 10 inches by 1 inch.Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and bake on greased cookie sheets for 8 to 10 minutes for the large slices and 5 to 7 minutes for the small.
Cool on wire racks.
Stack the small cookies on top of the large ones, gluing them in place with a dab of frosting.
Frost the bonnets, then decorate them with gel icing, sprinkles, and fruit leather ribbons.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Traffic Lights


One craft stick per child-

One 1/4 Section of Graham Cracker per child

Chocolate frosting-

One Red M&M

One Yellow M&M

One Green M&M


1. Spread some chocolate frosting on the craft stick

2. Press the 1/4 section of graham cracker onto the craft stick

3. Spread chocolate frosting on the graham cracker

4. Place the chocolate M&M's for the lights:- Red on top- Yellow in the middle- Green on the bottom

Traffic Light Biscuits

These super cute Traffic Light Biscuits are so easy to make.

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups plain flour
14 each green, orange and red Lifesaver lollies

1. Place butter and sugar in a small bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and extract. Beat until combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
2. Add flour to butter mixture. Using your hand, mix to form a smooth dough. Turn dough out and shape into a rectangle. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3. Roll dough between two sheets of baking paper to form a 20cm x 28cm rectangle. Cut dough into 14 x 4cm wide by 10cm long fingers. Using a 2.5cm round cutter, cut out three holes down the centre of each finger. Place fingers, 3cm apart, on two oven trays lined with baking paper.
4. Cook, one tray at a time, in a moderate oven (180C) for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Place one green, orange and red Lifesaver lolly in holes of each biscuit. Return to oven. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until lollies have melted. Remove and cool on trays.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St Patrick's Day

I have so many wonderful memories of visiting Ireland, celebrating St Patrick's Day, and teaching my students about St Patrick whilst living overseas. I have been really looking forward to introducing the celebration to the boys this year!

For many, St Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. It is always a great day to celebrate with children, whether it be from a religious point of view or simply for fun. I like to use St Patrick's Day to introduce the boys to another culture, the history and the customs. Over the years I have collected these three great books that I just love reading in the lead up to, and on St Patrick's Day.

Today we spent the morning locating Ireland on a world map as well as our globe. master 4 also has a World Map Tag Game so was very keen to find it on here also. We read The Luckiest St Patrick's Day Ever and then did some printing using green peppers. . Cut one bell pepper in half, dip in a shallow container filled with a little green paint, and then make prints on your paper. I think they look really cute and the boys loved doing this activity.

What does a rainbow have to do with St. Patrick's Day?
Most of the "fairy tales" about St. Paddy's Day involve a leprechaun. A leprechaun is said to be a short fellow with a red beard and a pot of gold. Supposedly, this pot of gold is hidden at the end of a rainbow. Because you can never find the "end" of a rainbow, you can't get the pot of gold. To get the gold, you've first got to catch the little Leprechaun.

St Patrick's Day is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the colours of the rainbow and do some wonderful Rainbow Themed Activities.

Why not celebrate St Patrick's Day with a Rainbow Morning tea! Your little one's can help you cut up the fruit and arrange it on the plate, making sure all the colours of the rainbow are ready to eat!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Magic Scarves

I love playing games with scarves with the kids. Everyone has an old scarf in the cupboard, if not you can buy a scrap of this sheer colourful material from spotlight for about 50 cents. Make each scarf around 20 x 50cm as it makes it manageable for the little ones to twirl and move with. Below I have put up some of my favourite activities I like to do with Magic Scarves. Magic Scarves offer the opportunity to develop fine/gross motor skills, dexterity, language development and movement skills.

•Toss scarves up in the air and then run under them and catch them. If they have difficulty getting the scarves to "float and flutter," toss the scarves up for them and let them catch them as they float down.

•Hoops and scarves can be combined as children dance inside the hoop with it lying on the ground and spin and twirl to lively music.

•Tie a "scarf ball," leaving some of the scarf ends loose so children can catch the ball by the dangling ends and throw it through a hoop hanging from the ceiling or from a low branch outside.

•Throw individual scarves into hoops placed on the floor or ground. Since scarves don't "go straight," children will develop unique ways of getting the scarves to land inside the hoops.

•Stand at the outside edge of the parachute and throw their scarves as far in toward the centre of the parachute as possible.

•Juggling with Scarves – Preschool-age children can develop pre-juggling skills that help to improve concentration, eye-hand coordination, tracking (a pre-reading skill), fine motor skills, and they get a cardio-vascular work-out too. Start by learning to toss and catch one scarf. Then, as coordination develops (which may take a long time) progress to 2 and 3 scarves.

• Scarf Toy Trampoline – Have 2 or more people hold the corners of a scarf and bounce a toy up and down in the middle of it, like a trampoline.

•Use an instrumental track to create free movement activities with scarves as well as direction following activities. Give children directions using prepositions of up, down, to the side, under etc.