Still Playing School: November 2014

Snowflake Crafts and Activities for Kids

We love snowflake crafts and activities because you can make them before the holidays but enjoy them long after the other decorations are packed away! You'll love these ideas to entertain your kids as they learn about frozen fractals.

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12 Days of Giveaways

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 2 Comments
We are thrilled to once again be featuring small businesses in what has become our annual Twelve Days of Giveaways! My passion is being able to do what I love (teaching and writing while staying home with my kids) via my own small business (this blog)! To celebrate you, our readers who keep us going by reading and interacting via our social media we are presenting 12 Days of Giveaways on Still Playing School's Facebook page

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Teaching Kids Thank You in Different Languages

We've been learning about gratitude and thankfulness. We did a preschool lesson on how to say, read, and write thank you in several different languages! This is the perfect free printable sheet for Thanksgiving or any time of year. 

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Scoop and Pour Serving Practice on the Light Table

We set up a fun practical life invitation to play on the light table. Our kids loved practicing self serving skills such as scooping and pouring!

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Free Thanksgiving Printables and Activities for Kids

Do you need activities for the kids to do while dinner cooks on Thanksgiving? Maybe you're looking for fun and educational activities for the little ones to play and learn over Thanksgiving break. We have a great collection of free Thanksgiving printables for the kids!

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Thanksgiving Writing Tray

For Thanksgiving, we created a writing tray with an irresistible material for our kids to practice their fine motor skills through relaxing sensory play! 

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Reusable Christmas Sticker Busy Bags

Our preschooler couldn't get enough of these Christmas themed sticker busy bags! The best part is they are free for you to print and reusable so you can enjoy them for the whole holiday season!

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Turkey Pattern Sheet

Do you need a Thanksgiving center idea or an activity for kids to do while the meal is cooking? Our kids loved color sorting and creating feather patterns on our free Thanksgiving turkey printable!

Free turkey printable for kids to practice patterns! Make feathers with cereal, pasta, counters, or pompoms!
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Money Slime

We love making slime! For this math activity for our kids we added coins to the slime to introduce the concept of money. Wait until you see how it looks on the light table

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In Defense of the Elf on the Shelf

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 6 Comments
Love him or hate him? Everyone seems to have an opinion of the Elf on the Shelf. We alter the tradition a bit in our home so that the magic is enough to overlook some of the potential negatives.  

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Indian Corn Crafts and Activities for Kids

We love Indian Corn! It is so irresistible from the color to the texture to how versatile it is in the early childhood classroom. I've gathered several of the very best Indian Corn crafts and activities for kids plus included a free printable just for you!

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Yarn Wrapped Turkey Craft

Our preschooler created a colorful yarn wrapped turkey from recycled material! This gobbler is the perfect fine motor craft for Thanksgiving.

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Pete the Cat Inspired Reading and Gross Motor Game

We loved retelling Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin with our literacy and gross motor activity! This book is just so catchy that kids want to read it again and again so we acted it out.

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Thanksgiving Turkey Geoboard

Our Thanksgiving Turkey Geoboard was holiday fine motor practice while we worked on so many math concepts! We discussed patterns, symmetry, geometry, and measurement during this fun and engaging homeschool preschool math lesson.

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Personalized Salt Dough Ornaments

Our preschooler loved creating these personalized salt dough ornaments for the whole family. From the sensory dough recipe to the final decorations she was proud to be involved in every step! 

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ALEX Toys Gift Guide

As a former teacher and now a mom, I look for toys that are built to last and attractive to all ages. When they add in a bit of learning to the fun, I'm sold. ALEX Toys is one of our most favorite brands for the most entertaining educational products!

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Fine Motor Christmas Crafts and Activities for Kids

Christmas crafts, activities, and games for kids are festive ways to work fine motor skills! Your children will be strengthening their hands while playing and decorating for the holidays with these ideas.

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The Benefits of Creative Collage for Kids

We made a large scale scarecrow collage out of recycled materials to decorate for Fall! As our preschooler was working on her artistic creation I was realizing all of the benefits of creating collages for kids.

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Christmas Sensory Play Ideas for Kids

What is even better than the smells of peppermint, eggnog, pine trees, candy canes, and gingerbread? Try our amazing list of Christmas sensory play ideas for kids!

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Dear Violet

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 2 Comments
Dear Violet,

Happy birthday, baby girl! It's been three years since you were born with a tiny cry. They handed me the most beautiful little girl bundled all pink, breathing on her own, a true miracle. I struggled to say everything I wanted to tell you in a few moments but the words didn't come to me. Instead Daddy and I stared at you, touching your face, pushing back your hat to see your brown hair (so long!), and kissing you.

As they wheeled us into the recovery room something happened. The urgency I felt in the OR was replaced by an overwhelming sense of peace. First Daddy bathed you. While he was washing you off you were staring over at me, sucking on my finger. "She's really trying," I said. We had been told you might not have the suck and swallow reflex you needed to nurse. But when they handed you back over to me all clean you went right to it, baby girl! You nursed as well as you could and we did it. We did it together!

You met your big sister E. She looked at you so calmly, touched your face so gently. She gave you kisses and a big gold star balloon. She was so proud that you were finally here and she had a sister!

Next you met your grandparents and most of your aunts and uncles. Everyone held you as two photographers snapped what seemed like millions of photos (but would never be enough).

We got to know you so well. We were told to expect minutes, maybe hours, but we got two and a half wonderful days with you. It was more than I ever dreamed possible. We learned what you loved (sleeping on Daddy, having your forehead rubbed, and Momma's voice) and what you didn't (diaper changes, changing clothing, being cold at all). We heard you hiccup and snore and squeak and cry. We will always wonder who you would have become but we know who you were. A tiny, but tall little baby girl with so much personality. You gave us so much. You gave us all of you.

We're getting on a plane this morning. For my whole life I wished to go to Disney. On every candle I blew out and every shooting star I saw for my whole life I would wish to go to Disney. Now I wish for you.

We'll ask E to pick out a special cupcake today and your little brother D will sing Happy Birthday to you. He calls you ViVi. We all miss you so much. We love you. We wish you were still here,

Love always,
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