Teaching Heart Mom

Just a Mom With a Teaching Heart. Find fun activities to do with your kiddos and students (infant to age 10). www.teachingheart.net blog

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Ready For Kindergarten!

The internet is a full of fun and educational things you can do with your children to encourage kindergarten readiness! Below are some free sites that I use with my kiddos.
FREE Worksheets and Extra Practice:

1.) http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/manuscript/javascripts/_my8linestext.htm – Handwriting for Kids site. This free site is great for practicing printing your child’s name. Just type in his or her name and press enter and lined paper with your text will appear.

2.) http://www.tlsbooks.com/preschoolworksheets.htm - Free Preschool Worksheets

3.) http://www.senteacher.org/Worksheet/10/Literacy.xhtml - Make Flash Cards at this site. Stick the cards on items around your house. For example: put a card on your TV that says TV. Put a card on your computer that says computer…

4.) http://www.kidzone.ws/prek_wrksht/index.htm - Many free preschool worksheets.

5.) http://www.momsminivan.com/printables.html - If you are going on a trip this summer, be sure to check out this site. It is filled with awesome ideas for trips.

6.) http://familyfun.go.com/printables/games/specialfeature/mazes-matching-games/ - Printable puzzles and games!

FREE Online Books Read Aloud To Your Child:These are all very cool. Virtual Story times online.
1.) http://www.frankasch.com/animatedbooks.html - Frank Ash Books Read Aloud to your child with text and pictures from the stories.

2.) http://pbskids.org/clifford/stories/index.html - Clifford Books Read Aloud

3.) http://www.lil-fingers.com/storybooks/index.html - More Online Storybooks

4.) http://www.storylineonline.net/ - Storytime Online is brought to you by the Screen Actors Guild. SAG members read stories to online.

5.) http://www.myfriendmagazine.com/games/emyebooks.html - Two Christian EBooks

GREAT Interactive Websites for Extra Practice:

1.) http://www.starfall.com/ - Filled with fun Phonics Based Activities

2.) http://pbskids.org/superwhy/ - Click on games and play some phonics games based on the PBS show SUPER WHY!

3.) http://pbskids.org/lions/games/ - Great Educational Preschool Games

4.) http://www.funbrain.com/

5.) http://www.thekidzpage.com/learninggames/put-it-on-the-shelf/ontheshelf005.html - Match Words to Pictures

6.) http://www.dositey.com/homek2.htm%20-%20K-2 Games for all subjects.

7.) http://www.primarygames.com/games.htm

1.) http://www.teachingheart.net/backtoschoolreading.html - Suggested read alouds for introducing school and kindergarten to your child.

2.) http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=701 – Scholastic shares what preschoolers need for next year.

3.) http://www.dltk-kids.com/type/printable_chorecharts.htm - Make chore charts for your kids.

4.) http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-outdoor.htm - Outdoor Preschool Activities

5.) http://www.dltk-holidays.com/summer/index.html - Summer Craft Ideas

6.) http://makingfriends.com/precrafts.htm - Preschool Printable Crafts

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

33 Years of Blessings

If I could pick a song that summed up my life it would be Blessed by Martina McBride. Today is my birthday and I feel so thankful for all that God has blessed me with.

I get kissed by the sun

Each morning

Put my feet on a hardwood floor

I get to hear my children laughing

Down the hall through theBedroom door

Sometimes I sit on myFront porch swing

Just soaking up the day

I think to myself, I think to myself

This world is a beautiful place

I have been blessed

And I feel like I’ve found my way

I thank God for all I’ve been given

At the end of every dayI have been blessed

With so much more than I deserve

To be here with the ones

That love me

To love them so much it hurts

I have been blessed


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Off to Kindergarten

My little man starts Kindergarten tomorrow. It's hard to believe this day is already here & he really was THAT little. I wish his little start to becoming a big guy goes smoothly. May God be by his side and watch him when I am not around. May he remember all the things we have taught him about being kind and polite. May he find a special friend. May his little start to big boy life be a good one!!!

To Zachary:

I wonder what you will be doing on your first day

and if everyone will treat you kind.

I hope there is a special person,

a nice friend that you can find.

I wonder if the teacher will know just

how special you are to Daddy & me.

And if the brightness of your heart is something she will be able to see.

I wonder if you will think about me

and if you will need my hug.

I know I will miss the sound of your voice

and how you often give my leg a tug.

I wonder if you could possibly understand

how hard it is for me to let you grow.

On this day know that my heart breaks

for this is the first step in letting my baby go.

Love, Mommy!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Them Apples

We made the tiny apples this weekend. My kids enjoyed it for about five minutes and then they started eating their creations and I was left to make the rest of the apples. They had fun and that is what counts. We used dots and green apple flavored sugar to decorate. Even my two year old was really into dipping the apples in the dots or colored sugar. My hubby was all over them apples too!!! I'll be making this for my son's birthday treat at school (somewhat healthy). They are as cute as they look. I think the Christmas baking will be fun this year since both kiddos can participate.
Speaking of apples: Fall is around the corner. A few fall links from my favorite website. :)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tiny Apples - Something on my list of TO DO!

I was telling my girlfriends about the cutest recipe in the Family Fun Sept. 08 issue. Just look how cute these apples are:I am in love and can't wait to give this a try with the kiddos. I'll post our creations when we do this. Looks easy enough and a fun project for them.

You can see the recipe here:

Of course other bloggers have already tried this recipe...

Nikki at Downwright Tasty already did here!
and she talks about them here.

Love it!!!!

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Keeping Kids Busy - Books on CD

So, being that I was a teacher I have tons of books on CD (plus I visit amazon and ebay to add to my collection - the way I look at it is that I can resell them later or use in a future classroom). My five year old has been listening to them since he was three and my hope is that my two year old will soon start listening too. I download my kids audio books to playlists on my ipod. The great thing about this is that I can have a bunch of books on one playlist, saving me and my son the time of changing CD's... if the book is on the playlist it just keeps on playing. Also, I will burn a few books on one CD and he can listen to it on a potable player or I can share a set of books wih my friends who I trust to return them when they are done. I organize the books in groups of about an hour to an hour and a half long of listening. The number the books with a sticky note. This way my son knows what order the books will be playing in. The books are kept in a large crate and each set is in a zip lock baggie. This keeps the sets that are on the same playlist or CD together. Ahhhh.... the best part, just hand your kiddo the bag and they are busy for an hour or so. Great quiet time for mommy!!!! Below are a few of my favorite read alongs found on Amazon.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Playgroup Pals New Chapter

When my son was 18 months old, I started a playgroup. I was desperate! I had moved back to my hometown and realized... hmmm, all my friends in the area were still busy bar hopping and meeting that perfect guy. I was on a different page in my life. I was married, a mommy, and working from home and needed some sort of adult social interaction besides the few minutes a day I had with my hubby! As a result, I pulled together a few moms I met at the library, one I met at Gymboree, and some I even met online. I invited them to my home to play and that is where our story began. I never dreamed playgroup would become such a big part of my life. I couldn't imagine these past few years without playgroup. Our group has been together about five years. Playgroup consists of about seven moms and a bunch of kids around the same age. Playgroup has changed over the years, some original moms dropped out and some moved away, and sadly one decided the group wasn't for them. The first two years we met once a week on Wednesdays at each others homes. We even had playgroup picnics where the dads had a chance to get to know each other. As the kids schedules changed we still managed to get together during summers and even many times without the kiddos. Lucky for me some of the original moms in that playgroup became some of my best mommy friends. We have been through many happy and sad times together. We have helped and encouraged each other. These mommy friends are the people I look to for advice and the people I laugh with!!! Our kids have grown up together. They can't even remember a life without these friends. Similarly, I can't remember being a mommy without them, Many of the playgroup kids start first grade this year while a few others begin Kindergarten. It will be interesting to see how their friendships with each other change and to see where the friendships I have with their mothers will go. I am pretty sure many of the moms will always be a part of my life in some way. I hope as our schedules and needs change we will still remain friends to each other and we will continue to encourage our children to love and remember their "first" friends. Who knows in a few years someone might need a prom date!!!

This is a video of our first & second trip to Idlewild Park.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Book Time With Froggy

Froggy books are loved by Kindergarten through Second Grade Students. It's very very difficult not to like froggy. Those wide innocent eyes. That wide innocent mouth. He's the cutest frog. Looking for a good read aloud story? Just pick up the nearest Froggy book you can find and start reading it. Children react to Froggy's setbacks and mistakes with smiles and laughter. Most children can relate to a few of the Froggy books and make a text to self connections.

My son has loved Froggy books since he was three. He is going into Kindergarten this year and still an advid fan of Froggy. He loves to read the parts when Froggy yells, "Whhhhhaaaaatttt!" after he has been called upon.

It's time for school to begin, time to read Froggy Goes to School:

Froggy has a dream about his upcoming first day at school. He dreams he wears his pajamas to school. Froggy wakes up and realizes it was just a dream. This is a great read for Back To School Time!!!

Why not celebrate school and make these too cute Froggy Cupcakes!!!

He is just too cute to eat. You can learn how to make these over at Family Fun.
Want some Froggy Printables??? Hop on over to Learning Treasurers.

Thirsty? The Learning Leap will show you how to make a way too cute Froggy Float.

Check out these cute box frogs at Kids Craft Weekly. You can see these crafts along with other fantastic froggy crafts.

Want ideas to match other books? Try Teaching Heart's Froogy page!!!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Other Side of Back To School

I am a teacher by heart; so, when I think of back to school I usually think of putting up bulletin boards, arranging the room, and getting my first week of lessons mapped out. Even now my professional job is to help Kindergarten through third grade teachers make learning meaningful and fun. In the past, I have been the one taking the child from the parent.... In a few weeks this will all change, I have to hand over one of the loves of my life to a teacher. Not a preschool teacher, a elementary teacher for five days a week. So strange being on the other side of this!

It was weird when I was walking through orientation as a parent and not as a teacher. I felt like I wanted to get up and help the teachers presenting and I also found myself biting my tongue and not being one of those know it all parents. I also felt my inner teacher yearning to be back in the classroom as a teacher rather than the creator of learning, my job title now (as well as mommy)...

This parent role will be hard for me. It will also be the start of a new role and the beginning of my first born truly growing up and becoming a pupil. My hope is that my son will love school and continue to get excited about learning. He is a bright kid with lots of quirks. So it should be interesting to see how he does socially this year. Academics are his strength. I like to attribute that to the fact that I am a teaching and I have been teaching him academics since birth... but truthfully, he has my husbands genes. Too smart for his own good. Socially he seems to always be behind and that is scary to me. I think that is probably my biggest worry about my little man starting school. I wonder where he will fit in with his peers? Will they like him? Will they be nice to him? Who knows, only time will tell. I don't want him to be the most popular kid, I just want him to fit in with a group eventually.

So, I will end my little rant with some cool back to school ideas from the other side, meaning back to school ideas for parents rather than ideas that help teachers get ready for back to school;

Check out: Three ways to have fun with back to school!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Planning A Star Wars Birthday Party Part 1

First of all you have to know that I love birthday parties! I always have since I was a little girl. I love setting up tables with fancy decorations and playing birthday games. Growing up I was always making homemade gifts for my friends and family... In high school my group of friends and I always made a big deal over our friends birthdays. We decorated lockers, decorated the cafeteria, and just had fun if a friend was having a birthday. College came and I found myself decorating my apartment for my roomies birthdays, decorating a flower pot to place dirt cake in, and making sure we all went out to celebrate. Then, I taught school after college and birthdays were always a big deal in my classroom. You can read more about that at: http://www.teachingheart.net/Birthdayunit.html
Finally, I had a baby boy and started making his birthdays a big deal on his first one and then his second through his fifth just got better and better... Yet, I learned that I probably could have held off till the 4th or 5th birthday before having the big kid bashes - so my daughter won't be as lucky and she will have to wait till her fourth before I start the parties for her.

I am in the beginning stages of planning my son's 6th birthday. Last year is was a Spiderman themed party and a big hit with him!!! You can see more of the Spidey B-day at:

The big downfall of the party is having it at my house. I would much rather have it somewhere else. Last year God was on my side and kept the weather nice so that I would not have to have 20 plus screaming kids & their parents running around my house... This year I am worried about numbers again. It will probably be more than 20 kids if I invite his new Kindergarten class boys plus some of his old friends. I don't want to leave anyone out. Then on top of that you have siblings that you feel you need to invite. I have a problem with guests lists, mine are always too long. So I am still trying to decide what to do about the guest list. I am leaning towards inviting the 15 boys in his class, plus the 15 other friends and doing some heavy praying that it does not rain. I'll let you know what I decide.

One of the first things I do when I start planning the party: look for ideas on line... here are some good sites I have found.

Birthday Party Video

Smart Mama - Check out the decor and the cake!!

Check out the Yoda Cake - Directions how to make it included

Another cake plus Yoda Cupcakes

Star Wars Bubble Sabers

More Links to Look at For Ideas

I hope to post more as I plan and I will put together a page about the party on Teaching Heart in September...

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Flocking Idea that is more personal...

Flocking... you may have heard of it with flamingos. If you are looking for something more personal, try taking a picture of the birthday persons head and blowing it up to life size. Stick those in the yard and then everyone will know whose birthday it is. For this particular birthday we printed out the sign, "Guess who is 40?"

Some links on flocking:
Sometimes, an ordinary card just isn’t enough. Sometimes, the occasion calls for more… much more.

This is a commercial site... but you can get many ideas if you look here.
Have fun being creative with this...

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Do You Know The BLUEBERRY Muffin Man?

A friend of mine is part of a family who owns a local farm. She invited us blueberry picking. It was my kiddos first time picking. I learned that picking blueberries can keep kids busy and happy. My 2 year old is the perfect age. She loves putting things inside things. She can spend 30 minutes filling the same bucket of water with water from her baby pool. Similarly, blueberry picking is moving one object into another and she was in heaven. My five year old was just happy to be outside and eating some yummy treats he worked to get.

I was explaining our blueberry fun to my sister in law. She recently went picking blueberries in Maine. I learned from her that Maine blueberry picking is much more different than PA picking. I guess in Maine the blueberries grow on the ground. She was telling me that her picking included almost stepping on a black snake and worrying about bears. That just doesn't sound fun to me.

My point is that blueberry picking in the right place is a great activity for your kids!

Here is a great link with blueberry picking tips:

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