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Thursday, March 24

Coconut Tree Name Slider

Back in February, Adventure Girl was a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom addict.  While searching the web for nifty crafts built around the book, I found that several blogs had name sliders.  They were fancy and cool, but either too large (they'd been designed for a classroom) or the download was a bit out of range for our budget.

Instead, Mama Stacey grabbed a marker and some of our art supplies and came up with a nifty little Coconut Tree Name Slider that we'd like to share with you.

2 sheets of Cardstock
Permanent Marker
FREE Templates

Honesty moment.  I am a construction paper snob.  I know that I can get a pack of cheap paper from the dollar store, but it cracks when folded, fades absurdly fast, and leaves piles of lint in my paper bin.  You can't put it in the printer without making a mess... ugh.  I will use cheap staples, cheap glue, whatever, but I will drive across county lines for a sale on Pacon Tru-Ray construction paper.  It's recycled, the fibers are longer so I can curl it and bend it without it cracking, it comes in over 30 colors, and it's made with fade resistant dye.  They can sit in the open without the sun bleaching them white in a single afternoon.  Really, I may include this stuff in my wedding.  Haha! 
There are TWO templates for this project.  You can honestly get away with printing out only the "front" if it comes down to it.   They are completely FREE.  They are PDF scans of my hand-drawn pattern. 

Begin this project by hugging your child and kissing their face until they tell you you're being ridiculous and you really need to stop gushing on them so much.

Next, print the templates out onto Cardstock.  (If you are okay putting construction paper through your printer, feel free to print directly onto the colored paper.)  Cut the shapes out.  Carefully cut out the circle from the FRONT template and save the circle.

 Now, trace the FRONT onto the Green Construction Paper.  Then, trace the BACK onto the Brown Construction Paper.  Also, trace the circle FIVE or SIX times onto the Brown Construction Paper.  Cut everything out.

Lay the Green tree on top of the Brown and insert the Popsicle Stick between them.  Use the above photo as a guide to see how the Popsicle Stick should thread through the hole.

Leave the Popsicle Stick in place as you staple above the hole and then to either side of the Popsicle Stick's path.  It should be a little loose so that the Popsicle Stick slides easily.

I chose to hide the staples by gluing several Brown Circles around the opening so that it looked like a cluster of coconuts.

You're almost finished.  Time to spread some glue between the Green Front and the Brown Back.  Allow to dry and you're good to go.

Vertically write your child's name on the Popsicle Stick.  Slide the Popsicle Stick through slowly as your child recites the letters.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

This project helps a child learn the letters and spelling of their name.  We incorporate this into our morning circle time twice each week.  Adventure Girl gets a kick out of it.

This project was part of our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week.

For other projects and inspirations, check out our Preschool Home Educating page.

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Thursday, March 3

Yink Tails

As part of our Dr. Seuss themed preschool-homeschool unit this week, we cuddled up to the idea of Yinks.  This creature is featured in the book One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish.

We made Pink Ink to drink, but weren't really living the Yink good life until we had a bushy yellow and pink tail to wear.

I had to buy nothing to make this as we are always swimming in felt and fabric scraps.  I LOVE discount scrap bins.  Even ugly fabrics can become the coolest children's projects.

We wanted something quick and easy, so instead of getting "fancy" with a snap or hook-and-loop fasteners (like Velcro) to keep the tail on, I decided to attach it to a simple tie-around belt.

We used:  yellow felt, pink felt, pink embroidery thread

Before I get too far in, I want to tell you that this was a quick and dirty project for us.  I used rough measurements and eyeballed a lot of it.  It took me five minutes to put together.  It is a play toy that, should it break, will not make my heart race.  I am striving to not take everything so seriously lately.  After all, these are projects of laughter and whimsy.

To begin, we measured Adventure Girl's waist.  22 inches was the rough number.  Because we were going to tie it, I added 10 inches.  You may add more or less depending.  I eyeballed the width of the belt around 2 inches.  I also needed a length of felt for the tail.  I chose 20 inches off the top of my head.  It worked well for that limp, drag-along-the-ground quality.  Adjust accordingly to your child.

So, to sum up the yellow felt, I cut a 32" x 2" belt and a 20" x 2" tail

For the bushy pink end, I went with a sort of pom-pom design.  I cut six strips off the short end of a pink felt sheet.  I eyeballed the width to the size of my thumb.  The sheet is 9"  I then layered them asterisk style. 

I stuck the needle through the center and stitched an X to hold them together.  Next, I took an end of the tail and tri-folded it for sturdiness (from previous projects we've found that single layers of felt shred/tear easily).  I stitched a second X through all of the layers of felt.

I quick stitched the tail to the center of the belt.

We tied it on and enjoyed!

Happy Seussing!

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Homeschool: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

We read the book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom after I grabbed it on a whim from the local library.  I'd seen it raved about for years, but thought to myself "what's the big deal about an alphabet book???".


We read the book once and STILL didn't get it.  So, I took to the internet to try and wrap my brain around the buzz.  A Scholastic video popped up on Youtube... and it all made sense from there.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is one darn catchy tune.  Papa J wanders the house singing it. If Beyonce had sung this, it would have been a chart topper. 

I am still learning how to build up curriculum.  I know that I want a theme for each week.  However, when I hop on Pinterest to see whats out there... I see one awesome craft and then another and another.  So, pretty soon I have fourteen crafts, seven snack recipes, and zero true academic content.   I often have to scale back the glue and glitter and purposefully seek out math or reading skills.  ::shrug::  I'll get there.

For Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Adventure Girl and I ended up practicing the letters of her name in any medium she wanted (paint, chalk, markers, stickers... whatever).

We made a Coconut Tree Name Slider.  I saw many items like this on Pinterest, but they weren't quite right for us or you had to pay too much.  So, in the end I made my own pattern.  Click our link to get the template for FREE.

Her most beloved project was the construction of a Cardboard Tube Coconut Tree for her foam letter alphabet (a gift from Table for Eight) to climb.  We reenacted the book over and over and over.

Other projects that we thought were groovy, but didn't have time to try out:

Cupcake Liner Coconut Tree from I Heart Crafty Things.

Edible Coconut Tree snack plates from Pre-K Pages.

Exploring a Coconut by Parent Teach Play.

Chicka Chicka Magnet Board by Little Page Turners.

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Tuesday, March 1

Spending the Day with Yinks

It's Dr. Seuss week and our entire homeschool lineup for the next five days is dedicated to his stories.  Today, Adventure Girl attended a birthday party for Dr. Seuss at the local library.  They colored and read and ate Cat in the Hat Popcorn (popcorn drizzled with white chocolate and tossed with red and blue sprinkles). 

The librarian chose One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish to kick things off.  If you've never actually read it, then you may not know what the book truly contains. It has very little to do with fish.  It's actually a collection of strange Seuss characters doing those odd word-family, rhyming things that Seuss characters do. 

Adventure Girl became endeared with the Yink. 

The Yink drinks pink ink.  The Yink has a really cool long yellow and pink tail. 

The Yink became our Seussical focus of the day. 

To start, we decided to make Yink ink to drink.  I knew that I could cheat and just use Nestle Quick strawberry milk mix... but to be honest I'd already been out of the house once that day and the thought of packing the kids up yet again did not entice.  I told myself that that mix was full of junk anyway. 

A quick Google search yielded the solution: homemade strawberry simple syrup. I found a recipe from One Hungry Mama, scanned it over, got the gist, and made my own. 

Roughly, I threw a cup of water, 6 tablespoons of local honey, and 10  strawberries (I often have a cache of frozen berries from summer in the deep freezer) into a saucepan and simmered for 30 minutes.  I used a potato masher to break down the strawberries.  You can stop there, but for kicks I let my daughter give it one solid squish of neon pink food coloring. 

Once cooled, we added several teaspoons to a glass of unsweetened almond milk.  Add a pink straw and voila!  Yink Ink. 

Wink like a Yink while you drink your "pink ink".

We also fashioned a quick and cute Yink Tail for Adventure Girl to wear.  I put that in a separate blog post just so I could get some dinner on the table.  Click HERE.
Happy Seussing!

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