Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009 Best Mommy Blogger Awards


Awwwwww! How sweet! Scholastic, Home of Parent and Child Magazine, is sponsoring a Contest to honor the Best Mommy Bloggers! And you know how us Mommy bloggers love our awards and this prestigious award would be just awesome! If your lovin' Creative and Curious Kids and/or have other Mommy blogs that you read, get on over and get a nominating!!

February 13th closes out the nomination period. The nominees will be narrowed down and finalists will be chosen by February 23rd.

Click here: 2009 Mommy Blogger Awards

Guess who I voted for???
Keeper of the Cheerios
Parenting Pink
Way Up High In the Monkey Bread Tree

Take Care and Have fun voting!
Lots of luck Mommy Bloggers!

Jen

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Need a Place to Stuff those Animals??

If your household is anything like mine, there are way too many stuffed animals inhabiting the premises! Possibly I wouldn't mind so much if they would stay in one place. But nooooo! These little critters have to travel to every room in the house! Therefore, I was super-excited when I came across this contest over at Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls What a creative idea! Store your animals and create a seat! Love it!!



Stuffed Animal Storage and Soft Seat


"This oversized, plush bag is covered with large, zippered windows made out of transparent, durable mesh. Children can fill the bag with stuffed animals of all sizes, and then use the Animal Bag as a soft seat. Made from high quality, breathable fabrics, the Animal Bag is machine washable, or it can be dry-cleaned."


Visit Boon Inc. for more info. or to see other great products!


Be sure to head on over to Frugal Mommy of 3 Girls to enter!!

Have a Great Day! :)
Jen

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Snow Globe Family

If you enjoy the bestselling author, Jane O'Connor (author of Fancy Nancy), then you'll have to check out a recent book that I shared with my girls. It is titled The Snow Globe Family. The uniqueness of the story, quickly held our interest and it was fun to imagine life as a little person in a snow globe. The girls played with their own snow globes before and after the story and enjoyed pretending that their characters inside their own snow globes were real.


As a follow up, create a paper snow globe with your child. Cut out a large circle from white construction paper.

Have your child draw and color a scene in their snow globe.
Add white glitter glue to make the snowflakes and snow in the globe shimmer.




Another activity that my daughter did in preschool was make her own miniature snow globe.
For directions on how to make a snow globe, visit the sites below!
Kaboose-snow globes
billybear4kids-snow globes



Take Care,
Jen

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!


Have a prosperous New Year in Chinese, that is! I had the best intentions of posting all of these ideas days ago, but my computer works only when it feels like it! :( It is like trying to figure out a challenging puzzle, just to get it to function these days- it's getting old!! So here goes- our Chinese New Year agenda for today:


Fun Facts
(source: Enchanted Learning)

Chinese New Year starts on a New Moon and ends with the lantern festival on the full moon 15 days later.

Happy New Year in Chinese (Cantonese): Sun nien Fai lok

It is celebrated in late January to early February depending on the year.

This is the year of the ox. (Have your child find the animal of their birth year- my daughters have the horse and the monkey!)

A little bit of fun with Food

Orange slices to symbolize wealth or Tangerines to symbolize Luck.
Rice in chinese boxes: eat with chopsticks!
Fortune cookies
Tray of sweets and dried fruits- known as chuen hop- Tray of togetherness

Craft

Create a colorful paper dragon.
Enchanted Learning: Directions for Dragon

Geography/Culture

Find China on a large map or globe.
Compare cultures.
Share the book Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett. Discuss the illustrations and the setting on the Li River in China.

Game

Hide red lucky $ envelopes. Fill with coins. Children find. Discuss how children often get these when celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Math
Teach Chinese number. Paint symbols for the numbers on Construction paper.
Extension: Children can create simple math problems with Chinese number for parents to solve! Chinese Numbers and Symbols
Tangram Fun

Art

Share examples of Chinese Art. We will be exploring puppets, paper cutting, Knotting, Paintings, and Sculpture.

Music and Dance

I'm going to try to find some Chinese music, because my six year old says that she wants to teach me a dragon dance that she learned! We will probably do the dance with the paper dragons we will make above.

Lots of fun will be starting here soon!! Enjoy your day and have fun being creative and curious with your kids!

Jen

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chinese New Year!

Monday, January 26th starts the Chinese New Year! Be sure to stay tuned for what I have planned!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fun with Tangrams!


With freezing temperatures and lots of snow, it is good to have a few things on hand to occupy the kiddos so that they don't go stir crazy. (actually the truth is so mom doesn't go crazy!) One of the things the girls have been enjoying are tangrams. Tangrams are colorful shapes that your child can create pictures with by combining the different sized shapes.(for a more exact definition, see origin below) Spacial reasoning, problem solving,geometry, and creative thinking are just a few skills that the children can acquire from this simple activity.

Peanut enjoys being creative and making her own pictures, whereas my Sunshine girl likes to be challenged by the pictures that come with the tangrams. There are a variety of objects to make such as a snake, boat, person, or cat. The pictures can be challenging for a younger child to duplicate.

You can create your own set of tangrams, but I found mine for a whopping $1 at my local Dollar Tree Store. It has been worth all 100 pennies!

Great Resources:

Tangram Puzzle Printouts
Tangram Pattern
Tangram Game: PBS Kids
Tangram Origin
Foam Magnetic Tangrams


Have fun creating and problem solving!


Jen

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow Princess!





We had so much fun dressing up our snow girl today!! My girls have been dying to get out to build a snowman, but the weather has been way tooo cold! The weather today was just right and the snow was Perfect for building. Being we had so much fun, I'd love to challenge you to create a unique snowman or girl with your creative kids!! So, I'm going to have a creative contest!! Here are the guidelines:

Contest Guidelines


1. Take a photo of your snowman or girl or creature.
2. Post it on your blog. (If you don't have a blog, but would like to participate, let me know!)
3. Link back to me and I will give linky love back to you!!
4. For extra entries, be sure to do the following: subscribe to Creative and Curious Kids or Put my site on your blog roll!!


The winner will be chosen randomly and will get to choose a book of their choosing from my Usborne website. (Up to a $15 value)
Contests ends on January 31st!

Have fun being creative with your kids! I hope that you will participate; I can't wait to see your photos!!





Have a great day!!

Jen

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Mitten

The Ukrainian folktale, The Mitten, was introduced to my girls by my daughter's Cyber teacher. It is such a cute story about some curious woodland animals who were cold in the winter's snow and took shelter in a single mitten. I found it's simplicity delightful and my girls seemed to enjoy the fantasy in the folktale and discussing this story together. I came across the same folktale retold and illustrated by Jan Brett. If you haven't met Jan Brett's work, you are going to have to check her out. Her illustrations are amazingly detailed. I am looking forward to checking out Brett's version of this tale. After reading a different version of The Mitten, my girls created mittens to hold little animals that we printed out. Here are the directions for this simple project.

Mitten Craft
Materials: Construction Paper, Mitten pattern and animals, scissors, yarn, 3 whole punch, crayons, and a variety of craft materials

1. Print out the mitten pattern and animals. Have your child color or decorate the animals.(optional)

2. Help your child cut out the animals- they are very detailed. Cut out the pattern of the mitten. Trace or have your child trace the mitten onto construction paper. Put the paper next to another sheet of construction paper and cut out two mittens.

3. Three hole punch around both mittens.Let your child sew the mittens together with yarn. Help him or her tie the mittens. There should be a space open at the top to put the animals.

4. Next, decorate the mittens with a variety of craft materials. (pom poms, glitter, etc.)Let them be creative!!

5. Have fun acting out the story, The Mitten.

For more resources and ideas, visit the wonderful links listed below:

Jan Brett's Homepage
Mitten Theme Unit
(Great for teachers, but also ideas for parents!!)
Mitten Animal Masks
Letter from Jan Brett
Other Books by Jan Brett
Lots and Lots of Activities!!!(Can't wait to explore this page more!)

Whew! Now there are enough resources for us to do a months worth of Jan Brett activities with our creative and curious kids!!

Have a fun day!! If you have snow- we have lots- enjoy!!

Jen

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Little Chefs



I'm learning to enjoy cooking more with my girls!! We even made homemade tortillas last week. Please don't ask how they turned out! Ha, Ha!!!



Check out Go Graham Go , Punky Monkey's and 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday!!





Angry Chef?? Oh my!!






Happy Wordless Wednesday!!
Jen

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Martin's Big Words"


With Martin Luther King Jr. Day right around the corner, here is my literature pic for the week! I came across this book a couple of years ago and fell in love with it! I introduced it to my girls last year and plan on checking it out from the library again this week. Sunshine is actually researching him for a Social Studies project.(PowerPoint) Isn't it amazing what a 6 year old can do technology wise now a days!! Now of course I have to guide her as to where to click, etc, but she is having fun choosing her background colors, photos, and animations!

Anyways, back to the book!! I highly recommend Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. I loved the illustrations and the narration. I believe that the end of the book may mention his assassination. Of course every child is different, but I chose not to share these details. Yes, I shelter my children. I'm probably going to skim over that page again. At this age, I think it is important to teach what he did that was so important more than how he died. We can save that for when they are older. If you decide to check this out this week, let me know what you think!!




For a couple of more professional reviews- check out below!!

Reviews:

Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of love, justice, and freedom shines through every page of this powerhouse of a book. Watercolor and cut-paper collages pack a visual punch, and the fluid narrative is simple enough for young readers.

From the Publisher
This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young children through his own words. Martin Luther King, Jr. , was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier's stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor paintings with vibrant patterns and textures. A timeline and a list of additional books and web sites help make this a standout biography of Dr. King.

Happy Reading!!
Jen

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Marshmallow Snowmen




Another tradition passed down from my Mom- Marshmallow Snowmen!! She would make them for us and practically all of the kiddos in the neighborhood. When I was teaching, I made them for my students as well. This year, my husband and I helped our girls make their very first snowman out of marshmallows and they loved it! This activity is fun to do with the kids around Christmas, but also a fun January activity. That's the great thing about snowmen- you can keep them out until March!!


Materials needed:
Bag of large marshmallows, gumdrops, candy canes, toothpicks, 3 Musketeers bars or Milky Way Bars, Aluminum Foil, blue food coloring

1. Wrap a candy bar with aluminum foil. Tape candy canes on each side of the wrapped candy bar to make your snowman's sled.

2. Connect 3 large marshmallows with toothpicks. You may want to double up on the toothpicks so that they hold. Using toothpicks, put the snowman on the sled.

3. Next, make arms,legs, and a hat out of the gumdrops by connecting them on toothpicks. (3 for each leg, 2 for each arm, 1 for a hat) Attach into the marshmallows.
(This part is a little tricky- we kept poking ourselves with the toothpicks! Ouch!)


4. Finish your snowman by making a face. Dip tip of a toothpick into food coloring.

5. Wrap with plastic wrap and ribbon to decorate.

6. Don't wait too long to eat your creation or give it as gift for a fun winter surprise!!




After a day of sledding and hot cocoa, try the above family activity!
Take Care and Happy Winter!


Jen

Friday, January 9, 2009

Let it Snow, Let it Snow.....

Things are getting pretty white around my neck of the woods! My girls are so excited because they can't wait to try out their new purple sleds from SANTA! Also, they want to have a snow ball battle. This is so my fault! One day last winter,I thought it would be so funny to hide behind the bushes and sabotage my husband with snowballs. As we were anxiously awaiting his return, one of my girls looked up at me and asks- "Why are we doing this again?"
"Because it's fun, silly!!"
Actually, it is because Mommy is immature and wants to get back at Daddy for all of the "bad" things he has done over the years! (Ha! Ha!)Ever since then, they want to beat up Mom and Dad with snowballs. They also can't wait to be snow angels and build a snowman.
I love watching them try to catch snowflakes on their tongues! I'd love to capture this moment on film. Especially my six year old! It is so great to see her just being a kid! She's trying to grow up too fast, so it is pure joy to see snow falling on her little face as she struggles to catch just one!
Although this weather makes me want to hibernate, it is hard not to appreciate the beauty of it all. The snow brightens up the dreary days of winter. The trees looks so beautiful when they are snow covered and I love watching the light reflect off snowflakes as they fall.
If you love this weather or if your children are fascinated with snowflakes, you'll have to share the story of "The Snowflake Man" with them. I came across a book titled Snow Crystals about Bently at the library and was impressed by his passion and work.

For the little ones, be sure to share the book, Snowflake Bently by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.














"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."

Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley 1925



Enjoy the Snow and the books!
Jen

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