Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thnaksgiving Treats!

Spend some time with your kiddos in the kitchen this Thanksgiving! Have fun making theses Pretzel-Tailed Turkey Treats from Kellog's Rice Krispies Yummm! Share your pics if you make them!

We’re sure your kids have some pretty cute, funny and heartwarming responses to the question “What are you thankful for this year?” Share their answers with us right here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reading Readiness for Preschoolers

Reading Readiness
by Donna Lybarger, an early childhood education teacher from Houston, TX.

Learning the alphabet is a major milestone for preschoolers. But in addition to being able to rattle off the ABC song, they need to learn to connect letters with the sounds they make, and you can help! As you’re out shopping, point to things as you coast down the grocery aisles. Make casual observations and ask questions, such as “Broccoli starts with the “buh” sound. What letter do you think that is?”

Use every excuse to play with letters. When your child says a word like “cat”, ask her what other words she can make by rhyming, or give her hints like, “What word might happen if you switch the “cah” sound and use a “sss” sound instead?” Challenge your child to come up with words that start with the same letter as his name, or the same letter as Grandma’s.

Make an Alphabet Book
by Donna Lybarger

Topics: Phonics, Preschool

Let your child play with scissors! Put her to work, creating a book that will keep her busy, and help her practice her letters, too. Long after all those preschool finger paintings have left the front of your refrigerator, you can look back at this book, for a glimpse at what your preschooler thought was special.
What You Need:
• Construction Paper
• Glue stick
• Markers
• Magazines, newspapers, stickers, and other materials with pictures
• Binding material (a hole punch and yarn, staples, or whatever else you choose)
What You Do:
1. Ask your child to pick 26 pages of construction paper. Take a marker and write one letter of the alphabet at the top of each page.

2. It’s time to work that alphabet! Give your child a stack of newspapers, photos, magazines, and anything else with pictures that you don’t mind cutting up. Start with the letter A and ask your child to go through the gathered materials in search of words that begin with that letter-- apples from the grocery store ad, Aunt Thelma’s picture from last Easter, an alligator from a magazine, an ant sticker… If your child needs help, you can make the sound the letter makes, to help her in her quest. When she makes a mistake, gently correct her, but without criticizing. For example, “That word starts with “eh” and the letter A sounds like “ah”.

3. After your child has collected all the images, ask him to help you label each one. Your child can tell you what the picture and you can write the name below. Or older preschoolers might want to take a crack at it themselves, writing the words with a little help from mom or dad.

4. Repeat this process with each letter of the alphabet. For tougher letters, like x, you may need to go to the computer and print out some pictures to have on hand.

5. Once you’ve finished with all the letters, stack the pages in order, from A to Z. Let your child decide on a title, for example, Michael’s Alphabet Book, and then write the name on a cover page, with a byline beneath. Let your child decorate to his heart’s content.

6. You’ve reached the final stretch! Now it’s time to bind your book. The fastest and easiest way is to punch holes in all of the pages and use yarn to tie the book together. If you don’t have yarn or a hole punch, you can use staples. Or, for a spill proof version, take your creation to the copy store and have them laminate and bind it for you.

Don’t forget to read your book! As you look over the letters, both now and in the future, you’ll remember how much fun it was to create (and how hard it was to find a picture of a xylophone!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Name Game- Sid the Science Kid

We use this cute name game song for the beginning of our Mommy & Me Classes.

I’m looking for my friends. I’m looking for u! Hey there’s _____!! Look what she/he can do! (dance or do something funny).
Repeat until all children have gone.
We’re looking for our friends! And look what we found! We found eachother…..FRIENDS!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

At the Beach

Get your little bathing beauties ready for a trip to the beach. Before reading At the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell, pack a beach bag with items you might take to the beach, such as sunglasses, sunscreen, a pail, a shovel, a towel, a book, a juice box, and a bag of pretzels. Make sure you have one item in the bag for each child. After enjoying the story together, tell the class you are going on an imaginary trip to the beach. Pass the beach bag around your group as they sit in a circle, and have each child select one item to hold. Next, sing the poem:

Let’s go to the beach
Let’s pack up right away.
Let’s bring everything we need
Fore the perfect beach day.

Now give a child the empty beach bag and have her say, “I will pack (item).” She then places her object in the bag and passes it to the next child. That child says, “I will pack (the previous item) and (his item),” as he puts his item in the bag. Continue in this manner until every child has a turn. Encourage youngsters to name the items in the same order as they were placed in the bag. If a child has difficulty remembering the items, solicit help from the class.

Source: 2002. Busy Kids Busy Days Themes Organized for the Way you Plan. Prek-K: The Mailbox. The Education Center, Inc.,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Math Starts Early

Math games for very young children
Here we used cupcake holders and pans to sort and count arts and craft items. On the bottom of the cupcake paper write a number. Have your kids sort out items from the craft table and drop the correct number into the holder. For example the number 3, we would drop 3 bells from the bell pile or number 2, drop 2 buttons from the button pile. Grouping and sorting are the fundamentals of all math skills! It's never to early to start.

Math games for toddlers are ever so practical! It's all about introducing mathematical concepts and relationships to infants - which really isn't so difficult, even if you're not the world's greatest math genius!
You're probably already chatting away to your little one about all the different things that are happening during the day. Which no doubt includes the following:
things that are bigger and smaller...
heavier and lighter
less and more
tall and short
big and little

- and this is probably the most important point: if you're involving your child in day-to-day activities and explaining what you're doing, there's almost no way you can avoid comparing things or describing things. Underneath it all, you're pointing out differences - which at a later age can be measured :)
Other math games for kids at this stage involve sorting activities. Grouping things together, separating them, pairing them up... think socks, fruit, toys, or candy!

These primary skills help with later skills like multiplication (2 groups of 3 = 2x3… 3rd grade here we come!)

Sort out the toys together - cars in that box, blocks in the block box, cuddly toys on the bed
Pair up the socks from the laundry basket - what a chore!
Sort those blocks into colors - then muddle them all up again! Then sort...then muddle... fun!
Point out shapes during the day. Find square things and round things.
How about some matching fun? Matching shapes using household items or toy shapes, or shape/play dough cut outs can develop into a fun game.
Or match numbers - use a mini whiteboard or chalkboard, and write a number - now your child has to copy it. Or draw a wiggly line or a straight line - and your child copies that. And so on. Then swap roles. See if your child notices if you draw it wrong!

Do this activities every day with your little ones and help make that transition into kindergarten easier!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sombrero Hats!

We are getting ready for Cinco de Mayo! Today we listened to fiesta music and decorated our sombrero hats! (googly eyes seem to make their way onto all art pieces)! :)

It's simple and fun! Print on cardstock and decorate with pom-poms. Sombrero Hat PDF

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mother's Day Party!

We are hosting a Mother's Day Dessert Bake-Off Party May 7th! Party starts at 11am and last till whenever you leave! Come enjoy crafts, food, friends and special guest from Creative Memories. See ya Friday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ladybug lost her dots!

First, thank you Teach Preschool for the wonderful idea and song. Here is how our little ones enjoyed the activity!

This is a great counting, arts and crafts activity to do with preschoolers. I did this activity for our Mommy and Me classes that last about 35 minutes so I pre-cut all the pieces to allow for time.

I used things around the classroom to make this activity. I used a sand bucket to make the circle for the body of the ladybug and a bubble bottle for smaller circles for the dots. I traced them on black and red construction paper and cut them out. I also used googly eyes, pipe cleaners, tape, glue, and a white crayon.

Have kids glue the ladybug together, everything but the spots. Hide the spots around the room as your read the song below. Once they have found some spots let them glue them on their ladybug. I sing the song several times so the kids will sing it as they are looking around the room. Very fun! I have them write numbers on their spots with a white crayon once they have glued them down to practice writing their numbers.

Little Ladybug Song Copyright © 2010 Deborah J. Stewart

Little Ladybug on the ground

Doesn't make a sound.

Looking for her ten black dots

She lost them on the ground.

One black dot Two black dots Three block dots And four.

Five black dots Six black dots She's looking for some more.

Seven black dots Eight black dots Nine black dots And ten.

The ladybug who lost her dots has found them all again!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tulip Garden

Spring is in the air! Celebrate April's beautiful flowers by making a fun Tulip Garden with your kiddos! Teach fine motor skills by crumbling tissue paper and gluing it to a tulip! I got this idea from Preschool Playbook and thought I would try it out. They turned out so cute and parents and kids both had so much fun making this craft!

Cut up colorful tissue paper into squares.

Let the kiddos crumble and play with the tissue paper has they glue it down to the flower.

Once they are finished line them up just like they would be in a flower bed and enjoy your beautiful spring tulips!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Shapely Rainbow

We have added this bright colorful rainbow to our ABC's and 123's center. This is a work in progress and will take a couple of weeks to complete. This past week the kids loved working on our rainbow a little bit each day. (2 and 3 year olds)

I made up a sad story of how this big rainbow lost all of her color and she needed help to find her color so she could be bright and happy again! I wonder who could help her.... hmmmm???

First, draw a big rainbow on white bulletin board paper with a pencil. In each section write the color words from top to bottom; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. For each color make different shapes; I used hearts, triangles, circles, stars, ovals and squares here are my shape templates that I made so you don't have to. (it does take some time to cut out so grab a glass of wine, a good movie and start cutting) I printed the shapes on cardstock and mixed them all up in a small plastic container and when I tell the sad story of how our rainbow lost her color, I get all happy when we find the colors and dump them in a big pile and let the kids one at a time tell me the shapes and color of each as they glue it in the right space to start the process. The bigger the rainbow the better because over the next couple of weeks the kids will work on it. We will celebrate the rainbow and her colors when the center is empty and the shapes have all been glued onto the appropriate sections.

For older kids you can assign groups a different color and shape and have them cut out and add one color at a time and once all the groups have gone you will see the colorful rainbow take its shape.

I will post an updated photo when I rainbow is finished next week!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Holiday Craft

We absolute love to mold Plaster of Paris around here! When a fun holiday rolls around you can be sure we are painting a craft made from silicone cookie molds. Silicone molds you can find in your local grocery store or craft store and work perfect for this craft. It’s a bit messy with the plaster, so I mold them the day before and let the kids paint them throughout the week.

Here’s how you do it! DAP Plaster of Pars is mixed 2 parts plaster and 1 part water. I mix it in a tall plastic glass, easy for pouring into the molds, and mix with a paint stick. It should be mixed until smooth, not too runny and not too thick. Pour into molds leave a little room on top that way they come out even on bottom. Let dry for about an hour before you pop them out. Once you pop them out lay them out on a paper towel and let dry for another hour or two. Then enjoy painting them anyway you like. They will get lighter over the next couple of days as the plaster dries all the way.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gardeners of Tomorrow

Why is it that our kids will eat dirt and rocks from the playground but won’t eat carrots and broccoli from their plate? If you’re like most parents getting your kids to eat vegetables can be tricky. We wrap, stuff, cover, hide and hold noses to try and get a tiny portion into their mouth. We won’t even mention the gag reflex that comes with most of these procedures!

For many families, planning time for lunch and dinner can get in the way of busy daily schedules. Case in point, “Hurry up we’re going to be late for school! Hurry up we’re going to be late for soccer! Hurry up we are going to be late for dance”! And then the classic, “Let’s just stop and grab a quick bite before we have to go.” Sound familiar?

Our days are so full of rushing around that we look forward to anything that can make our day easier. With all the extracurricular activities modern families are involved in, guess who picks up where busy families leave off? Yep, it’s billion dollar food industries followed by billion dollar media companies! Frustrating as it is, these billion dollar companies are taking advantage of our families and our extracurricular habits! While they are busy making billions off of busy families there’re putting us and our kids health at risk and getting rich while doing it! They want you to believe their food is fresh, fast, and tasty. Ha! Fresh right off the frozen truck! Oh, and what about the new Taco Bell diet? Seriously? They must think Americans are stupid! That’s where they’re wrong! We're not stupid, we are simply accustomed to things that make our everyday life easier and more convenient. Fast food just so happens to be the one thing that makes this possible and many families rely on it with their busy schedule. Sad as it may be our hard earned money and our “convenience factor” for grabbing a quick bite is our choice. It's not the billion fast food companies that make our family unhealthy, it's the choices we make for our family that makes our family unhealthy! All we have to do is simply make better choices.

Sometime we lose sight of the big picture. We believe our children's activities, outside of the school schedule, will give our children more education and better skills for their future. We do all this so they can have “all the things” that we never had. I for one am very happy with how I was raised and how I turned out, thanks mom! But so often, we find our self caught in a rat race trying to catch the Jones’s and don’t realize that in fact we are hurting our family by rushing and eating unhealthy food along the way. Think about your family for a minute and answer these questions honestly. How many nights a week do you cook and eat as a family? How often do you grab lunch or dinner for your kids on the run? Would your kids rather eat fast food or a home cooked meal? Would your kids rather eat rocks from the playground or their broccoli? :)

Were you surprised by your answers? Truth is, we will never be able to give our kids more if we are clogging their little arteries with all our rushing around . It’s OK if you’re offended, I want you to be. Now let's do something about it!

I’m not saying that I’m against extracurricular activities for kids and families, quite the opposite actually. I'm just looking for a balance to get some stolen family time back and keep families healthy. Do we have to give up our families extracurricular activities? NO, we only have to prioritize differently. If we choose our families activities differently, we can choose to be closer to our family, show our kids how to eat better, live longer, and save money all at the same time! Your money is now saving your family instead of harming them. Let’s empower our kids by giving them the right tools for their future, their families and a healthy life. Healthy food = healthy bodies, unhealthy food = unhealthy bodies. Simple enough right? Good, let’s do it! Let’s change our families "one dinner at a time”!

OK, hopefully by now you’re asking how and what activities can my family do? Again, let’s keep it simple. Vegetables = health food therefore; start by growing a garden with your kids! Spring has arrived and now would be a great time to plan it, build it, grow it, and harvest it. Get your kids involved from the start by planning what to grow, digging and tilling the dirt, planting the seeds, watering frequently, checking on it daily and harvesting it when ready.

Carrots, potatoes and cucumbers from the garden sure taste better than rocks and dirt from the playground! Let your kiddos play in the mud, dance in the puddles and run around outside while they maintain their garden. Create it just for them or create a spot that is just theirs. Crating a garden for your kids will teach valuable life skills such as responsibility and patience. It will teach them all about colors, numbers, science, and nature too. The learning possibilities are endless if you use your imagination. Your kids will learn so much from their garden and from you and they just might learn to like their vegetables too.

Dinner talk now turns into great family conversations about how fun the garden is and how much they learn. Not to mention how dinner will become naturally healthy because what else are you going to do with all that fresh produce straight from your back yard. No more rushing around grabbing a “quick bite” and heading out. Instead, head straight out your back door and get your family happy and healthy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chugga-Chugga- Choo-Choo!

If you are like most moms or party throwers you know the secret to throwing a good party lies within the details. Every party should have balloons, cake, food, party favors, games and FUN crafts! Tying in a craft that goes a with the theme of your birthday party will be your “icing on the cake” and keep your kids entertained and parents saying "WOW that was an AWESOME party"!

I recently hosted a party that had a train theme so I thought I would share the craft that I provided for our guest. It's a fun easy craft for your kiddos and here is how you make it! Just follow the pictures below. I have included a train cut out for you too! Enjoy! To give proper credit, I saw this craft on Awesome Moms website. They have tons of birthday party themes for you to follow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

B is for BEE! Buzz! Buzz!

Second letter in our Animal series. I have included the template for the letter B. This idea is from Totally Tots and you can find all of their letters in their blog. Check back every Thursday for a new letter as we make our way through the alphabet.

B is for Bee! Here is what you will need.

Wax paper
black tissue paper
pipe cleaner
black crayon, or marker
letter B cutout
hole punch
glue stick
googly eyes

Print on Yellow Cardstock, or use yellow foam. Tie in with a cute book on Bee's or the letter B!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rainbow Art

This rainbow art project is very simple and cute.
What you will need:

White small paper plates
Red, blue, yellow, green, pink streamers
Glue stick
Hole punch
Pipe cleaners or string
A,B,C stickers to add a special name to the plate.

Cut streamers to desired length. Cut out center of paper plate. Wrap and clue streamers around bottom of plate. Punch a hole in the top of the plate. Insert with a colorful pipe cleaner and hang up and enjoy your colorful rainbow art!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A is for Alligator

We are kicking off a new series called Animal Letters! The bossy A is going first! Join us every Thursday as we make a new animal for each letter. I will provided a template for every letter as we make our way through the series. Thank you to Totally Tots for sharing this wonderful crafty way to learn our ABC's!

A is for Alligator! Print on green paper and use triangles down below for the eyes on the side of the A. Place googly eyes on the inside of each triangle. Tie in with a book on the ABC's or Alligators.

Teeth- Print on white paper and use 2 on each side of the inside of the letter A.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St Patrick's Day Activities & Songs

How Many Leprechauns? Original Author Unknown
Sung to: "Twinkle Twinkle Little star"

How many Leprechauns do you see?
Can you count them, one, two, three?
How many Skinny ones?
How many fat?
How many leprechauns with out a hat?

Leprechaun Fingerplay Original Author Unknown
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
Hiding in the hay. (Hide pointer finger under opposite hand.)
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
Don't you run away. (Hop pointer finger around.)
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
Let's go out and play. (Hop both pointer fingers together.)
Leprechaun, leprechaun,
It's St. Patrick's Day! (Dance pointer fingers up and down.)

Do your Ears Point Up? Original Author Unknown
Do your ears point up? (Pull on tops of ears.)
Do you have a lot of luck? (Cross fingers.)
For gold do you dig? (Pretend to dig.)
Can you dance an Irish jig? (Dance a jig.)
If you answered, "Yes," (Nod head.)
You're a leprechaun, I'd guess! (Wink eye.)

Five Green Shamrocks Original Author Unknown
Five green shamrocks growing outdoors
(Child's name) picked one, and that left four.
Four little shamrocks, green as they can be.
(Child's name) picked one and that left three.
Three little shamrocks playing peek-a-boo
(Child's name) picked one and that left two.
Two little shamrocks nodding in the sun,
(Child's name) picked one, and that left one.
One little shamrock for St. Patrick's Day fun.
(Child's name) picked it, and that left none.

Cut 5 flannel board shamrocks and let the children make shamrocks on a
stick and place the numbers on the shamrocks for math count.

Shamrock's and Pot of Gold Patterns -FREE printable
This activity is great for matching, sorting and counting in your math centers during March.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mommy and Me Classes

With our Mommy and Me Class you and your child can have fun together in an educational and stimulating environment. The program gives your child the opportunity to socialize with peers and gives you the opportunity to share and grow with other moms. At each session the children enjoy curriculum-based crafts, songs, movement, storytime and snack. We also have a parent development lesson during separation time.

The class is limited to ten children per session and the child must be two years old by December 1st of the school year we are working in. Moms and their children join together on Tuesday's for an hour and a half of activities led by a certified teacher who holds a Master’s degree in education and is certified in early education and English as a second language. Classes start at 9:30 am and last for 1 and half hours ending at 11:00 am. After the class ends you are free to stay n play afterwards and visit with other parents. For more information, please contact us 512-971-PLAY Sign up now space is limited!

About the class

ABC’s and 123’s: fun and creative ideas for teaching basic concepts and building basic skills such as letters, numbers, colors, shapes, counting, patterning and much more!

Circle Time: creative activities developed to focus on early childhood skills and concepts in inviting and playful ways.

Movement: age appropriate movement activities designed for indoor play to improve gross motor skills by leaps and bounds.

Songs, Rhymes, & Storytime: popular tunes, fingerplays, and action rhymes just right for little learners.

Snack time: Little ones enjoy a yummy healthy snack brought from home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wednesday at the Movies!

Wednesday at the Movies!
Join us every Wednesday for movies and popcorn!
We have flat screens, dvds, and popcorn! Chick flicks for moms and cartoons for the kids! Don’t miss out!! See ya Wednesday!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Story Time with A Twist! & Toddler Yoga!

We have added fun activities to our calendar!

Story Time with a Twist
Join us for story time every Monday and Friday! Wondering what the twist is??? Well, we don't just read a book, we use all 5 senses!! We want to show your children that reading is FUN!! We will use all 5 of our senses during story time to fully engage your children! We will crawl, jump, sing, listen, touch, smell and taste! What better way to fully engage your children and show them that reading is so much fun! Join our story time every Monday and Friday!

Toddler Yoga
Every Friday you and your child can engage in a little bit of relaxation. OK, well maybe not too much relaxation, but you will be able to help your child learn through yoga the techniques for relaxation, self- health, inner fulfillment and self- esteem so they can navigate through life with a little less stress! WOW, don't you wish this would have been available to us when we were young?! What a great gift you will be giving your child that will last forever!

We are constantly adding and changing our events every month so check back regularly to see how much fun we have at our play center!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Club for Kids and Parents!!

We are starting a book club for kids and parents!

Join our book club online on our Website or Book Movement under Austin Stay N Play. You can also join our book club discussions on our Facebook Fan Page!

Parents, teach your kids that reading is FUN! Join our book club for parents and kids! Starting March 1st we will meet, at our play center, we meet the first Monday of each month, starting at 6:00 PM. For a couple of hours we visit and discuss our book of the month. We read a variety of fiction, non fiction and memoirs. Your kids will meet and discuss their book of the month with one of our wonderful Book Club Leaders. They will have fun listing, reading and acting out parts of the book. After reading and discussing their book they can play and make crafts that tie into the theme of the book!

Books for the Month of March

Parent’s Book
Sarah's Key
by Tatiana de Rosnay
Published: 2008-09-30
Paperback: 320 pages

Children's Book
by Charise Mericle Harper
Hardcover: 32 pages
Published: January 5, 2010

Visit our book club list for other months!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Austin's 12th Annual Summer Camp Fair

I know it’s only January but it’s time to starting thinking about how your children are going to spend their summer! Kids get bored at home during the summer months and summer camps are tons of fun! They are a great way to keep your kids active and happy! The hard part is deciding which one to choose!! We recommend that you attend Austin’s FREE 12th Annual Summer Camp Fair next weekend, January 30th 10am-5pm @ Palmer Event Center. Take your kids with you and discover all that Austin has to offer this summer. Empower your children by letting them ask questions directly to camp counselors. In the car on the drive up, brainstorm with your children questions they might want to ask camp counselors so they can decided if they want to attend that particular camp. If they get to choose the camp they like, they will be sure to have a GREAT summer that they will always remember! You will be surprised at how camps you did not know about that fit in your budget and your kids will love! Take the family and go explore so your family has a summer to remember! Here’s to happy, active kids in summer 2010!!