Tot School ~ Letter Hh and Fairy Tale Fun

Tot SchoolThis week Little B has had lots of fun with the Letter Hh sound, learning more about life cycles, and exploring the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

I introduced the letter Hh sound with a worksheet and mini book.

She made a capital letter H house and a lower case h horse. I found the idea for the horse here. We talked about how happy and handsome her horse is. 🙂

She made a hippo puppet.

She colored hammers.

And painted H’s and a do a dot H.

She added hand prints and made another hand print painting.

Little B loves fairy tales. I’ve been reading Little Red Riding Hood to her repeatedly (by request) the past couple of weeks. I made some printables for the story. I made puppets and laminated them and put velcro dots on the back so she could use them on our felt board.

She played memory match.

And sequenced the story with picture cards.

She made a basket for fruit (healthy food for Little Red’s sick grandma!).

She played a food sorting file folder game.

She had fun with these Little Red activities and more I made as well. You can see more about them here.

Little B’s workboxes for the week.

She made some neat scenes with the create a picture cards.

And built some cool creatures with the Better Blocks.

She played with these shape puzzles for awhile.

Posted in Homeschool, Letter of the Week, PreK-K, Tot School | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Scholastic Teacher Express $1 Sale and 30% off Coupon

Just a quick heads up, Scholastic Teacher Express is having another $1 sale. The coupon code LEARNINGJAN is still active and good for 30% off your total order.

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Preschool Corner ~ Little Red Riding Hood Unit




Little B had fun this week, investigating seeds, life cycles, and the story Little Red Riding Hood. To download free black and white puppets for Little Red Riding Hood click here.

Children love fairy tales! Little B is no exception. I’ve been reading a lot of fairy tales to her lately, from The Red Fairy Book and The Blue Fairy Book. She simply adores the stories.

I created some printable puppets, a craft, a file folder game, and some more things to make a fun Little Red Riding Hood Unit for her. She loves the puppets so much we’ve used them again and again. I tell her the story and we use the puppets to retell the story together. Then she enjoys making up her own versions of the story. It’s unbelievable how much she enjoys doing this.

Story retelling allows children to actively participate in the story, increasing language development, comprehension, and interest in literature. Using puppets and props makes story retelling fun! You can see more about these materials here on my Fairy Tale Fun page.

story sequencing ~ 6 picture cards

basket of fruit craft

file folder game ~ sorting healthy and sometimes foods into baskets

Little Red mini book with word family -ed words

see. trace, build word family -ed words

wolf size sequencing

our mini terrarium project ~ more about this project here

Little B’s seed she started on a damp paper towel. It is a pea and she planted it in a Sprout & Grow Window. Hopefully it will continue to grow and we’ll be able to watch its roots extend into the dirt.

I made her some Life Cycle Turn to Learn Wheels and cards. We took turns turning the wheels and putting the cards in order, talking about the different life cycles. With the cards I showed her the continuity of the cycles by shifting the 1st card to the end, then shifting the new first card to the end, then again, talking to her about it as I did. We entered lightly into the Chicken or Egg debate and Little B says clearly the chicken came first.

Little B and her sister helped start seeds for our garden, mostly tomatoes, peppers, and lettuces.

Little B and her sister were drawing with sidewalk chalk while we waited for the peat pellets to absorb all the water. The patio was wet and a wet surface is fun to use chalk on. Little b surprised me by drawing a perfect ten.

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Mini Terrarium




With spring in the air, these past few weeks we’ve been following the rabbit trails  ~ and investigating life. New growth, life cycles, the water cycle, and seeds.

A mini terrarium is an easy, educational project. You need a jar with lid, a peat pellet or equivalent, water, some seeds, and some charcoal. You’re student will not only get to watch the seeds sprout and grow, they will experience a tiny, staged water cycle first hand.

Put the jar on its side. A spoon is helpful when adding the materials.

  • Add a thin layer of charcoal
  • Add a thin layer of peat or dirt
  • Add the seeds
  • Add another thin layer of peat or dirt
  • Add a few spoons of water

Now, leaving the jar on its side, put on the lid. Ours is growing well just sitting on the kitchen counter, for now. We got the seeds and other materials, minus the jar and water, in one of our Young Scientist Club Kits, #28. I’m not sure what exactly we are growing in that jar, as it was labeled simply Seed Mix.

A picture of more growth-

Here you can see how the mini terrarium sparks discussion on the water cycle.



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Fairy Tale Fun ~ Little Red Riding Hood Unit

puppets and props

story sequencing ~ 6 picture cards

basket of fruit craft

file folder game

mini book

character cards

see, trace, build word family -ed

size sequencing cards

Children love fairy tales! Little B is no exception. I’ve been reading a lot of classic fairy tales to her, and she simply adores them. Fairy tales are time tested and full of educational value, as well as being fun and memorable for children. The stories allow children to explore morals and big issues in a fictional setting.

We have been playing with puppets and props made from black and white reproducible pictures, originally meant as templates for felt board pieces. She loves this so much we’ve used them again and again. I tell her the story and we use the puppets to retell the story together. Then she enjoys making up her own versions of the story. Simple, right? Yep. It’s unbelievable how much she enjoys doing this. There were only pieces for a few stories though.

Story retelling allows children to actively participate in the story, increasing language development, comprehension, and interest in literature. Using puppets and props makes story retelling fun! The puppets also encourage children to get creative and make up their own version of the story.

After searching for reproducible, decent looking pictures for more of the fairy tales and failing, I decided to make my own.  I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about this for awhile now. I love to draw, I love to create, I like to write, why not? I just finished making resources for Little Red Riding Hood and now I’m working on Jack and the Beanstalk.

I decided to make quite a bit more than puppets and props though. I wanted to be able to reuse the materials more than one year. I plan to focus heavily on fairy tales for Literature in Kindergarten and 1st grade, so I made a variety of materials to be used now as well as later. Some of the materials she will use in K and 1st include a story mapping worksheet, copywork, draw and summarize worksheet, word family -ed Little Red mini book with worksheets, comprehension questions, and critical thinking & personal connection questions. I’m selling the printable pdf on Currclick. You can preview the full product by clicking on the link. To download a free sample of the unit click here. The free sample contents are a retelling of the story and black and white puppets. If there is a particular fairy tale you would like to see a unit made for, leave a comment and let me know.

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FREE Letter of the Week/ FREE Letter Sound of the Week Overview




Pulling together a free Letter of the Week or Letter Sound of the Week curriculum can be done! Is it time consuming finding resources and getting them ready? Yes, so I want to share the resources I’m using with my youngest. Hopefully I will save someone else a bit of work. With access to the internet, a printer, and some basic supplies you can have a wonderful Letter of the Week curriculum.

Little B is currently working her way through Letter Sound of the Week materials. Last year we used Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Letter of the Week. Lots of color printing, but it was cute, bright, and fun. This year I really needed/wanted to go low cost and no color ink. Little B isn’t ready for letter blending yet, so these resources are for introducing either the letters or the consonant and vowel sounds.

I’m going to break it down into four basic parts and share what we use and do. You can, of course, organize your materials however you wish.

  1. Introduce the letter/letter sound of the week
  2. Letter craft
  3. Binder with worksheets/crafts
  4. Workbox

1. Introduce the Letter/Letter Sound

I introduce the Letter Sound of the Week with this worksheet, available in D’Nealian  and standard block print. I cut the stickers (to be used later) off the bottom and hang it on the fridge for the week. I show it to Little B, tell her the letter sound(s), and show her how to trace the letter with her finger.






In her workbox is the corresponding letter mini book, also available in D’Nealian and standard block print. She will use the stickers from the above worksheet. I cut and assemble the book ahead of time, using a paper clip to hold on the stickers. I read each page to her and she finds the matching sticker to glue on.






page 1 of book before assembly






page 2 of book before assembly






2. Letter Craft

I use these super cute ideas found at Totally Tots for the letter craft. The majority of the crafts involve turning the letter into an animal. Little B loves this. I cut out all needed pieces ahead of time and store them in a gallon bag. I’m usually only a few weeks ahead in having everything cut out and ready to go, so I reuse the bags for the next letter crafts.

3. Binder With Worksheets/Crafts

Here are the pages I put into her binder.






alphabet animal puppet






alphabet do a dot – Little B likes to paint on this with a foam marshmallow.






letter h template– Little B usually paints this at the same time as the do a dot sheet, though the template could be used any number of ways. I like that is shows both the upper and lower case letters.










These worksheets are from Starfall, available in block print and manuscript. Each letter has 2-4 pages. There is a simple activity in small print at the bottom, such as clap if the word has the h sound and a list of words. Little B isn’t ready for much writing yet, so I print out pictures for her to paste on the second worksheet.






alphabet pictures for worksheet– I print these out much smaller than the originals. On my printer I simply check the box print 4 pages per page to scale it down. I then cut out the pictures and put them in a sandwich bag in her workbox to go along with the worksheet.

You could also do coloring pages. Little B isn’t much into coloring pages. Here are a couple really cute alphabet coloring page freebies- Mr. Printables alphabet coloring pages and color by number alphabet pages.

4. Workbox










In her workbox will be the letter mini book, the bag with cut outs to glue, and a word building mat. The word building mats I printed from this website, however it looks as though they are no longer all available free. I’m linking it anyway as some are still free. They probably change what is free as it is a paid membership site, so this will be hit or miss. I did find these printables from Homeschool Creations that are similar, they are free but they are in color. There is also this book from Scholastic with reproducible word building mats, not free, but I thought I’d link it anyway in case someone might have use for it.

This is what it looks like when it is ready to go for the week. The binder is in place and the workbox is loaded.

How do I organize all this?

I put all the worksheets in a three ring binder with a-z tabs. I only put the current Letter Sound of the Week worksheets into Little B’s binder. When she is done with the week’s worksheets I put them back into my binder for safekeeping. When she is done going through all of the letters she will have this binder to show for her work!

Little B’s finished mini books get stored in a small shoe box. This is on a shelf she has access to and she can look at them whenever she wants.

The build a word mats and letter tracing worksheets get stored in a bigger shoe box.

Posted in Free, Homeschool, Letter of the Week, PreK-K | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Harnessing the Power of the Spring Sun

All the warm days and plentiful sunshine inspired me to break out the solar power K’NEX set. K’Nex are cool, but they aren’t typically the kids go to building set. The big kids love Legos and Little B mostly uses the Duplo blocks. Miss Ruby and Mr. Riley did go through a phase years ago when the K’Nex were a big hit. They mostly spent time building wands and swords for pretend play props. So occasionally I bring them out and offer to build in lieu of more serious school work.

With three kids it can be difficult to even start a project like this, as everyone wants to build something different. We solve this by everyone getting one choice. Then the choices get written down and put in a basket, jar, or paper bag. One of us picks, typically Little B does the job. This time the carousel project won. Once we built a merry go round, which I must say was quite impressive. It hung around in Miss Ruby’s room for months afterwards, spinning round now and then with a little help from full sunlight.

Little B is really too small for serious K’NEX building. It is difficult for little hands to do some of the snapping of pieces involved. She stayed occupied most of the time by sorting the pieces into piles and hunting down what we needed. I brought out the Kid K’NEX when she started getting bored, towards the end. They are bigger versions of the K’NEX with themes. Little B’s has parts for making creatures, eyes, wings, and such. She has no problem connecting these on her own.

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Puppet Power

They outnumber us 5 to 1. Good thing puppets have no real power of their own or it’d be creepy. 🙂 The kids didn’t create all the puppets in the same setting, it has been an ongoing craft over several months. Don’t feel too bad for the trees because the puppets do actually see quite a lot of play. Little B loves them. “Do you wanna play puppets?” Is very nearly a daily question around here. It is amazing the fun kids can produce from some paper and markers!

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Tot School ~ Spring, Flowers, Life Cycles

Tot School





Spring is sprung! At least as far as I’m concerned. The weather has been wonderful. Little B has been getting outside, digging in dirt, playing chef with a bucket of water, stick for ladle, bits of nature as ingredients, jumping in the trampoline, doodling with sidewalk chalk.

She has also been doing some fun activities indoors related to spring, flowers, animal babies, and life cycles. I think we’ll keep at those themes for the next couple of weeks as there is just so much to explore.

parts of a flower craft








butterfly life cycle mobile








I like to get some crafts ready to go in bags so she can do them whenever she wants. It is really helpful to have a variety of activities prepared ahead of time for school time. Little B made a rainy window, paper daffodils, and handprint Easter Lily crafts with a little help from me.
















I cut and colored this rainbow craft and Little B glued the parts together. It is hanging up beside the butterfly life cycle mobile.

We played memory match with these very cute cards from Mr. Printables.






Little B really liked playing this cooperative game from Family Pastimes. You plant the garden, then harvest it by taking turns rolling a die as the seasons change. Hopefully you have all your crops harvested before winter, if not you can always try again next year!











We played this cute animal baby and mommy memory match game.

I helped her make this poster about what flowers need.


I made some printables for her to play shop. You can find them here for free. There is a register mat/money sorting mat, two styles of price tags, play money, addition mat, money reference chart, shop signs, and some more.

Little B helped start a mini terrarium in a jar. All three kids started some seeds in wet paper towels in cups. When they sprout we’ll transfer them to the clear root view planter. Little B picked peas to start. She also put some beans to soak in water for dissecting later this week.








Little B’s workboxes for the week, thistle blocks, peg board shapes, sequencing cards, lacing beads, kumon workbook activities, and animal snaps cards.





I made colored salt for the kids to make art and play with. You can find instructions here.


You can use the colored salt for a fun prewriting activity. Little B wasn’t interested. I used to make this for the big kids when they were younger. Ds really liked drawing letters in the salt with his finger.











Little B using her hands to mix, mound, and spread the salt. She really had fun with this. I saved the leftover salt in a gallon bag and she requested to play with it again the next day.

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“Let’s Play Shop”~ FREE Printables ~Math Center Money Game PreK-K

Preschool CornerLittle kids love pretend play. They learn so much while at play. Little B is very into imaginative play right now. She is so creative. She builds little worlds from toys and comes up with innumerable fresh characters each day. She tells stories with depth and meaning. Yes, she’s four, but she has so much going on in that head of hers!

She doesn’t *really* need props nor schoolwork, but it is a fun way for us to spend time together. She likes to dress up and play shop, so I made some printables to extend her play and make it easier on me to get into the scene. Pics of a couple shops I set up for her last week are posted below the pdfs for download. They include play money, price tags, signs, a register mat/money sorting mat, a money reference chart, addition mat, a vegetable stand mat, and a fruit stand mat. There are brief descriptions of each and how to use them written to the adult as well. Most pages are in color and in black and white too.

These pdf pages are offered free for personal use only. Feel free to download and print for personal use in your home or classroom. Please do not share the pdf or make copies to sell.

To print or download click on the tiny black box with the white arrow in the upper right hand corner of the pdf preview. If you’re having trouble viewing the pdf preview here is a direct link to the documents on google docs.

Posted in Free, PreK-K, Printable | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments