Great books and supplies for March and St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup {Brazil}

We are excited about the World Cup this year! I decided it would be fun to learn a little about some of the countries playing and have some special summer activities (since our summer break just started). First off …


My husband served a two-year mission in Brazil, so I got a few good ideas from him.

  • Make a World Cup Flag Bunting … a great way to start off our week
    1. Print this great flag bunting from Activity Village here
    2. Have the kids help cut out each of the flags and fold over the tab.
    3. String a ribbon for the bunting.
    4. Get ready to match the countries on a map (below!)


  • Flag & Country Matching Game … my kids, ages 2-9 years old (well, not counting the baby) are all home for summer break, so they will all help in their own way
    1. Print out this flag page with each of the 32 countries participating in the World Cup and laminate it (from Activity Village).
    2. Cut out each flag.
    3. Match the small flags with the larger bunting flags to find out which country they belong to.
    4. We have a large world map on our wall, so we used an Atlas and placed a flag next to each country. I love how it looks
  • Learn some Portuguese … teach the kids a few simple words
    1. Oi = (Oy) hello
    2. Tchau (chow) = goodbye
    3. Bom Dia (bohn JEE-ah) = good morning
    4. Obrigato (oh-bree-GAH-doh) = thank you
    5. Futebol (FOO-chee-bole) = soccer


  • Read books about Brazil … I just browsed our local library and picked out a couple that looked simple with lots of pictures.


  • Sidewalk chalk map of Brazil
    1. Open one of your books up to a big picture of Brazil
    2. Help the kids draw a large map outside with sidewalk chalk
    3. Add the capital, Brasilia, the Amazon River, the Amazon rainforest in the north, major cities, etc.
    4. Or simply draw an outline and let the kids color it Smile

  • Learn Capoeira
    1. Watch this video of kids performing pretty impressive Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art or dance.
    2. Have your kids try out some of the moves while they watch Smile Remind them to be careful. These kids have been practicing for a long time!


  • Brazilian Dinner … I have heard many times about the beans and rice my husband ate while in Brazil, but I’ve never tried to make them. Tonight was the night. It was a lot of fun to make something new and everything turned out delicious! Our Brazilian menu:


    1. Arroz com Fiejoada (Rice & Brazilian Black Beans) … recipe here
      • I adapted this recipe and just used 2 cans of black beans instead of using a pressure cooker. I also used instant white rice. I was surprised how delicious this dish was.P1016937
    2. Pão de Queijo (Cheese Bread) … recipe here
      • These were really fun to make. I’ve never used tapioca flour before. It reminded me a little of Oobleck … but the end product was a puffy little ball of cheese bread. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. SO GOOD!
    3. Chicken & green salad… I just thinly-sliced chicken and pan-grilled it with a little Italian dressing (yes, Italian. I know.)P1016952
    4. Guarana Antarctica … this Brazilian soda pop is a treat for my kids. We don’t have pop very often and I had to order this online. It is a Brazilian favorite. P1016953
    5. Dessert: Mousse de Maracuja (Passion Fruit Mousse) … recipe here
      • A quick and easy, cool and tart dessert. I whipped it up in my kitchenaid, so it was a breeze Smile
  • Brazilian Music … just for fun, we listened to this Brazilian music station on Pandora throughout the day and during dinner. I love it! Click here for the station.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

P is for Princess and the Pea!

P is for Princess and the Pea

With my two older boys in school, my preschoolers at home are both of my girls. When I suggested to my 4-year-old daughter that we could have a P is for Princess day, she was pretty excited. I don’t think the boys would have been quite so thrilled Smile The baby decided to take a 3 HOUR NAP (heavenly!) so the girls and I just kept playing. Fun morning. (These activities would also work for handsome little princes too!)


  • Getting all Dolled Up … a little princess prep Smile Not necessary, but definitely fun!
    1. Do your hair … my older daughter was happy to have her hair done “fancy” today. Ribbons, bows and all. My 2-year-old has a little cold and was grumpy today. She preferred her bedhead hairdo Flirt male That works too.P1303946
    2. Make princess crowns … these two got new fancy tiaras for Christmas, but of course, they wanted to make their own Smile
      • Cut out a simple crown design.
      • Add long strips of paper to each side.
      • Decorate with stickers, crayons, jewels, and glitter (I didn’t dare today!)
    3. Add a gown … they each picked out a dress-up princess gown to wear.


  • Peas and Carrots Snack
    1. Spread out a blanket on the floor
    2. Put carrots and peapods in a bowl for the kids to snack on while you read the book.


  • Read The Princess and the Peas and Carrots by Harriet Ziefert … the illustrations are one of my favorite things about this story. And I love that Rosebud’s dad tells her the real “Princess and the Pea” story as a bedtime story (a fold-out book inside). A cute little twist on the traditional tale. I made sure to add that Rosebud’s mom HELPED her clean up her room after her tantrum Smile
    • NOTE: You could always go with a more traditional Princess and the Pea story.

P1303893 P1303898

  • Where is the Pea? … my girls loved this game
    1. Cut a simple bed frame out of brown paper.
    2. Cut out several colorful “mattresses”. I used one of each of the basic colors because I wanted to work on color names with my 2-year-old.
    3. Cut out a smallish green circle for the “pea”
      • Tape your bed frame to the wall (down low)
      • Stack the colorful “mattresses” by taping the top edge (so it flaps open from the bottom.
      • Hide the “pea” under one of the mattresses
    5. TO PLAY:
      • With the kids, count the mattresses. We had 10!
      • Name all of the colors.
      • Have the kids tell you one color. Lift the mattress to see if the pea is hiding underneath!P1303947 princess 001
    6. NOTE: my girls’ favorite part of the day was these little paper princesses I made with their faces. I just google searched “princess clipart” and chose the one I liked. I cut out the face and substituted one of my girls. They loved them. I tried to draw my own so you can print them out and color the hair and dresses … not bad Smile

P1303925 P1303938P1303940

  • Our ‘P’ pea banner … we had to have some decorations for our fancy princess day.
    1. Cut out several circles from green cardstock.
    2. Think of as many ‘P’ words as you can.
    3. Write the word & draw a picture of it.
    4. String them on a ribbon and hang up!

P1303935 P1303952

  • The Pillows and the Pea Game … this game was pretty entertaining Smile
    1. Spray paint a golf ball green = the pea.
    2. Set out several pillows on the floor.
    3. TO PLAY:
      • Hide the golf ball “pea” under one of the pillows.
      • Have the kids take turns sitting on the pillows to discover where the pea is hiding! To make it harder, try stacking 2 or 3 pillows together.
      • When they find the pea, let them hide it under a pillow for the next person to find.


  • Princess & the Pea Lunch … it just makes lunch more fun Smile
    1. Mattress sandwich = layer bread, PB, bread, jelly, repeat.
      • We topped our mattress sandwich with a green M&M “pea”
    2. Frozen Peas
    3. Cheese cut with P cookie cutters. I have ones similar to these here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

P is for Pizza


We are off to a good start this week. I stayed up way too late last night getting some things ready for today, but it ended up being a lot of fun. Today, we had a great P is for Pizza day. Lots of counting and creating and we ended up with yummy homemade pizzas for lunch!


  • Read “The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)” by Philemon Sturges … I thought this was a cute story. The little red hen has run out of bread and decides to make a pizza. The cat, dog and duck follow the traditional tale and refuse to help. The ending has a new twist where the hen actually shares her pizza.


  • Build “P is for PIZZA” … my kids love using this Letter Construction Set.
    1. Set up all of your pizza books for the kids to see.
    2. Help them find the word “PIZZA” on each book cover.
    3. Build the word “PIZZA” with the Letter Construction Set. Available here. Instruction cards that come with the set have directions for upper and lower-case letters.


  • Pizza Parlor Game … after a little prep the night before, this was a fun game.
    1. Cut out several pizza crusts by tracing a small bowl or plate on orange foam craft paper.
    2. Cut out pizza sauce by tracing the same bowl or plate on red foam craft paper and cutting out in a slightly smaller wavy circle shape.
    3. Cut out your choice of pizza toppings from foam craft paper! We used:
      • cheese = yellow
      • pepperoni (or canadian bacon) = pink
      • olives = black
      • green bell peppers = green
      • mushrooms = white image
    4. Make a “Pizza Menu” or print out the one I made here!
    5. Laminate your menu and cut it in half (so you have 2 menus). I use this Scotch laminator and love it.
    6. HOW TO PLAY:
      • Welcome your kids to your Preschool Pizza Parlor!P1273818
      • I started with all of the toppings in a big pile and they sorted them into this veggie tray.
      • Tell them that their first customer has arrived! Show them the menu and fill in the number of toppings you would like. I use Crayola Dry Erase Crayons. Seriously, the best and they’re washable!P1273826
        • NOTE: they also liked it when I just put an ‘X’ next to the toppings I wanted and they could put as much or as little on as they wanted.
      • Have them follow the menu and count out that many toppings.
      • Make a big deal about checking your pizza and gobbling it up when they’re done.


  • Make homemade pizzas for lunch! … we were all hungry by lunchtime and this was the perfect meal.
    1. Let the kids help prepare your favorite pizza dough recipe. We used our go-to recipe and cut it in half.P1273829
    2. Give each of the kids their own ball of dough. Put a little flour on the table and help them roll it, squish it or stretch it out into a pizza shape.
    3. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet.
    4. Let the kids spread pizza sauce and choose the toppings they like. My 4-year-old wanted plain cheese. My 2-year-old likes olives and mini pepperoni. I had all of the above, plus orange bell peppers. Mmmm.
  • Peg’s Pizza Place … a fun pizza game while we waited for our pizzas to cook!
    1. Play Peg’s Pizza Place on
    2. The kids follow the directions to make simple pizzas.
    3. They are also introduced to simple fractions. 


  • Fruit Pizza … this was our treat after our family night this evening. Half of it was eaten before I remembered to take a picture Smile with tongue out A perfect way to end our P is for Pizza day.
    1. Make a sugar cookie crust (or use store-bought sugar cookie dough!)
    2. Mix 8 oz. cream cheese, ½ cup sugar (I used powdered sugar) and 1½ tsp. vanilla. Spread on cooled crust.
    3. Top with sliced fruit.
    4. TIP: The best tip I read was to slice the frosted crust before putting the fruit on. So much easier (and prettier) than trying to slice through all the fruit!
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