ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: May 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Spotlight: Ebeanstalks

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We've featured this Ebeanstalks before, but wanted to highlight them again on this weekend's Saturday Spotlight as well as provide you with some developmental information about babies from them.

Ebeanstalk is dedicated to a baby’s development. And we select the best baby toys matched to a baby's development. To see great information on how a baby grows up, check out the info on our baby toys page.

Picking toys for a baby is not as simple as it sounds. Here are some quick baby facts:

  • Toys for a newborn baby: A newborn baby is briefly looking at objects and attempting to imitate facial expressions. They can follow objects with their eyes and usually quiet down, when they are picked up.

  • Toys for a three month old: They will enjoy ‘frolic play’, reaching for objects and will repeat enjoyable activities. Believe it or not, they will respond to ‘no’ (about half the time) and will start babbling.

  • Toys for a six month old: They’ll search for hidden objects (object permanence). They’ll reach for themselves in the mirror, play peekaboo, crumple paper, roll from their stomach to their back and even respond to their name.

  • Toys for a nine month old: They are pushing toy cars, playing pat-a-cake and looking for hidden sounds. The baby toys they are playing with are also getting more fun.

Get a 15% discount on any first purchase at ebeanstalk — TGS345 — just enter the code at the shopping cart.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Teacher Gift Ideas

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We interrupt our normally scheduled letter posts for a batch of emergency end of the year teacher gift ideas! The traditional school year is quickly approaching and we know you want to show your child's dedicated teacher how much you appreciated all the long hours of preparation, hard work, and dedication they put into making your child's year special!

Many of these are from teacher appreciation week, but with a few modifications would also work now. Show them with one of these fun ideas, and you won't have to resort to the last teacher mug at the drug store on the way to drop off your kids on the last day of school☺

Yes 4 Crazy Kings shared this is for Teacher Appreciation Week, but with a few changes it make's the best thank you for a great year card ever!
It's the end of the year, all the kids have gone and now you, the classroom teacher, are cleaning up your room and getting ready for the summer cleaning crew to come in and give it a scrub down. Here's the pefect thing to give the teacher to munch on while she packs up, personalized cookie boxes as seen on 4 Crazy Kings!
Any early childhood teacher would love to get this fabulous quilt made by Be a Good Mom, her daughter helped make it for her kindergarten teacher and it's the perfect size for the play house center!

Casa Camacho made these creative twists on the traditional apple for my teacher gift!

They also made these cute candy messages for their teachers.
Sheila at Pieces of Me really appreciates her daughter's teachers! Back during teacher appreciation week she put together great gifts for each day, including this cute latte themed mug and Starbucks gift card one. Because they hae the "write stuff", she also gave a set of cute note pads and pens, very handy for all the notes we take on our students and for quick messages to parents. Then there's the beautiful candle for "lighting up their days", complete with prettily packaged matches and the "mint to be my teacher", jar of lifesavers! Any one of these sweet gestures would be appreciated by your child's teacher, just be sure to include the heartfelt note of thanks like Sheila did!

The Princess with a Half Priced Tiara turned her kid's artwork into fun teacher note cards with the help of Shutterfly, an online developer with many photo based products.

Here is another great way to turn your child's artwork into a teacher gift, make these fun personalized note pads, like 4 Crazy Kings did.

Still in need of some inspiration? Letti at Happily Ever After rounded up a bunch of great ideas back around Teacher Appreciation Week.

One last goodie to share today! This isn't a teacher gift but it is perfect for the end of the year especially as preschool and kindergarten classrooms have their graduations!
Kris at Jesse Kate Designs's graduation hat idea! This would be fun end of the year activity for an early childhood classroom, and as Kris points out the children can even use the fruit loops get in some last minute pattern making practice!

Have you entered our Frecklebox Giveaway, if you haven't why not☺ Don't forget and please tell your friends to come on by and enter too! It's not to late to sign up on for our first Picnic Table Talk, join in on the fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Picnic Table Talk: Introductions

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
Please check out our FAQ in the left sidebar.

Welcome to the picnic!

We are looking forward to celebrating summer with you!

Today we will kick off Picnic Table Talk with an ice breaker! We would love to get to know all of the picnic participants. Mister Linky will help us out. Please take a few moments to write an introductory post on your own blog. Leave your link here and we will all be able to learn a little more about eachother.

We will each be writing our own Picnic Table Talk post on our personal blogs and linking to the picnic as well. To give you an example here are 2 sample party introductions.

Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot
Katie from A List Maker's Life

You may also want to consider some, or all, of the following items when putting together your picnic post!
~The Prize Picnic button/logo
~A picture of your family enjoying a picnic
~All about you & your family
~How long have you been reading ABC & 123?
~How did you come up with your blog title
~What types of activities do you most enjoy doing with your children?
~What is your favorite picnic activity and food?
~What are your summer plans?
~Links to some of your favorite learning activity posts

Once you have written your post and linked up here take some time to visit the other picnic participants and share some sidedish (aka comment love)! Have Fun!!!

If you're looking for ideas on what to eat at your next picnic, Valerie at Frugal Family Fun has put together a list of her family's favorite cheap picnic foods. Starting Monday we'll be sharing some some picnic dishes, along with a treat everyone loves...a weekly winner!

We've noticed that Mr. Linky has been acting up all over blogdom, he's supposed to make an appearance on our post today, but if you don't see him please leave your name and post link in the comments so we know who's having an open house today!

Please leave us comment with a topic you'd be interested in discussing around the picnic table this summer too. It can be a topic you'd like advice on, an area you need ideas for, anything you'd like our community's input on. We can't promise we'll cover everyone's suggestion, but we'd love feedback on what you're interested in!

A Listmaker's Life
Katie's Nesting Spot
The Wonder Years
Thrifty Crafty Mama
The Whipples
Adventures of a Flake
7 All Together
The Harris Family
Our Nifty Notebook
4 Crazy Kings
Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile
Arts and Crofts
Mother is Not Concerned
A Mommy's Adventure
Two Little Monkeys
The Home Teacher
Orange Juice
Life of a Dairy Queen
Teaching Young Children
Izzie, Mac & Me
Miller Moments
Life of a Modern Mom
Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary
Cheerios Underfoot
Santiago Twin Girls
Academy at Thousand Oaks
Celebrate Every Day
Preschool Playbook
Handmade Beginnings
Adventures in Mommydom
Finding Me
Schweri Stories
Mama's a Mess
One Pink Fish

We've taken down Mr. Linky so our page will load a bit quicker this week. However, if you have an introduction to add please email or comment with the link so we can add it to the post.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Picnic Activities: National Physical Education Month

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What does every good picnic need? Some great activities of course! In honor of National Physical Education Month, here are ideas to get everyone moving!

Need some ideas on how to manage PE activities? Amy at Teach Mama suggests some educational ways that help her kids take turns on the swing that can be used in many different situations.

Take your kids outdoors for an outside scavanger hunt, Amber at Hey, I'm Just the Nanny shares her version.

But if the weather won't cooperate, try Teaching Heart Mom's Home Hunt. She even provides picture cards for you to use with her game.

Instructables suggests a little monkey-ing around while teaching your child to spell his or her name.

Take a look at No Time for Flashcards for simple suggestions on setting up a mini-olympics.

Flipflops and Applesauce has a fun idea for sticker tag, what kid doesn't love stickers?

Games Kids Play has a great list of favorite jump rope rhymes. Bring back any memories?

The kids at Annie's Alphabet Home love parachut play, seeing the big smiles on their faces reminds us why parachuts remain a main stay in early childhood classrooms and daycares. Looking for more ways to use your parachute, try here.

Kids Games has many games listed, including many traditonal favorites you may have forgotten about such as capture the flag, red light green light, and 500 as well as many others divided into categories such as chasing games and sensing games. With so many choices you're bound to find some way to keep everyone busy and having fun! It won't even feel like exercise☺

Another great online resource is PE Central, there you'll find classroom management techniques, activities divided up by grades, and lots more.

Don't forget to enter our weekly giveaway, our kick off sponsor is Frecklebox and you won't want to miss you chance to win a personalized gift for your child!

Come on back tomorrow, for our first Picnic Table Talk! Be ready to link up your introduction post on your blog, to see suggestions for what to include in it see our announcement post. We can't wait to come around and meet all you and get to know our community of teachers and learners better!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Frecklebox Review and Giveaway

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This Giveaway is CLOSED, congratulations to our winner Kim!

Welcome to ABC & 123's Summer Prize Picnic's Big Kick Off!
We're excited to start our summer featuring Frecklebox, a company that has been wonderful to work with. Their mission is the educate and entertain, and Frecklebox's personalized products certainly do deliver! As former elementary teachers, we know that literacy begins very early on; the sooner you begin reading to and with your child the more likely he or she will be successful at independent reading. Independent reading is the foundation for all academic areas.

Frecklebox has numerous options for personalization. They have books, coloring books, puzzles, posters, journal books, place mats, stickers, and growth charts. Many of their products would make great party favors and coordinate so you can have matching sets.

Personalized materials encourage children's excitement for reading and build self esteem. Not only are they a valuable teaching tool, personalized books also become special keepsakes as your children grow.

The rhyming text, offerend in Frecklebox stories, is beneficial to use with early readers, using a teaching technique called Cloze Procedure. Using small sticky notes you can cover the second word in a rhyming set. Aas you read the sentences your child can try to fill in the covered word. As they guess the missing word reveal one letter at a time figure out if they child has made the correct guess.

As an example from Frecklebox's Hip Hop Howie book:

"Riding down the street
He thought he heard a sound
Down by his ____."

Discuss possible rhyme choices: meet, beet, feet, sleet

Reveal the first letter.

"Down by his f___."

Go through the possible rhymes again and see which one fits.
Reveal the subsequent letters until they are all showing.
Re-read the rhyming sentences together.

Frecklebox was a very generous sponsor, they sent sample books to both families and made sure each child got their very own book. At Katie's Nesting Spot's household, we were fortunate enough to get the Saves the Planet book to preview.

I was especially interested in this title, because I am always looking for nonfiction books to add to our home library. Interesting nonfiction books can be hard to come by for young children. They are often too simplistic or far too advanced to hold my daughter's interest. Plus, I noted around Earth Day, the lack of books on this topic. The brightly colored photographs and rhyming text quickly and easily captured her attention. In fact, the day after we got our copy in the mail she was already singing lines from the book.
Here is the front cover of our book and the personalized dedication page. You can add your own text on this page, you do not have to choose from a small selection of prewritten dedications. My daughter's name has been edited for privacy. Through out the book, her name is featured predominantly on each page twice, once in the text and once in the accompanying picture.I liked the unique and creative ways that her name was incorporated into each photo, on the page above her name is spelled out with lots of little surfers. On others her name is created with clouds, bees, or added onto things like a bar of soap, bike license plate, recycling box, and a trophy.

The text rhymed and was full of easy things children can do to help save the planet such as turning the water on and off, riding your bike instead of driving, recycling, turning off the lights, and protecting the bees that pollinate our flowers and fruit trees. I found the activities, text, and picture illustrations very age appropriate for her, yet interesting enough to also be a book suitable for early elementary children.

I think one of the best features of the book, has to be the extra effort put into the design. We got a paperback and the entire book is laminated. That means if your child is like mine and spills things repeatedly, it's not a problem to just wipe it off and it's as good as new. I know, we've had three spills and spaghetti marks so far. This also makes the book extra sturdy for little hands that might otherwise tear the pages.

Frecklebox has a wide variety of products to choose from and besides our book we also received from a personalized puzzle for ER and a personalized journal with my name on it.
We got a twenty piece Horses puzzle, which just happens to be the exact one I was thinking about getting ER for her upcoming birthday, so getting it was a nice surprise! It was a big hit with my daughter as she is fascinated by horses and ponies. I love it when you can find activities that match interests. It is a too advanced for her to complete on her own, she'll be three in July, but she enjoys helping us a lot and wants to, "Make my ponies," over and over. Her name is spelled out in the clouds.
I also got this very colorful and handy personalized notebook, I like the zebra print a lot. It has a transparent plastic cover and the first page beneath it has my first and last name on it along with the pattern. What makes this notebook extra special is that my name is even on each page inside, along with writing lines, which I greatly appreciate. It's a nice size and fits well in my bag so I can pull it out and jot down notes as needed. The plastic cover makes it very durable.Here is an example of a notebook preview from Frecklebox's website. The previews available on Frecklebox are excellent! You add your child's name to any product they carry and see it. There is no guess work. I normally do not use my daughter's first name on this blog or on my personal one, but I considered sharing unedited photos for this review. However, the previews available on Frecklebox are of such high quality that I knew each of you could see their products, personalized for your own children on their site. Therefore, I did not feel blurring her name would take away from showcasing the products as you can see them over there.

You can even see, preview, and read an entire book before you purchase it. I can be picky about literature and I like to know I am getting a quality piece of literature before I buy it. I really don't like plunking down any money without knowing exactly what I am getting, so this was my favorite feature of their website. I've looked into getting personalized products for my daughter before and most sites do not have this feature.

What's a summer picnic without some after dinner reading material? This little one thinks the books is the picnic! I was thrilled with the opportunity to kick off our summer prize season with Frecklebox!

Every fall in my second grade classroom we kicked off the year by creating name books. The kids adored creating the books displaying their special name. Frecklebox products meet kids enthusiasm for reading personalized material right at their level.

When the package arrived at our house my kids could not wait to see what adventure their book would take them on. What would their character do? Where would they go? Where was their name hiding on each page?
We previewed 3 different genres. Gavin, my 4 year old learning to read-er, got the book Hip Hop Howie and his pal Gavin. The fiction book is about the adventures of Gavin and Howie the frog. This specific title focuses on key sight words, rhyming, and word families. This is perfect as Gavin is able to work on reading his book independently. His favorite page displays his name spelled out in the sky by a group of black flies.

Anne Hope, the 3 year old wants to be able to read-er, has the fantasy book Anne Hope and the Unicorn. As we read her story she loves to read her name whenever we come to it. She also likes the "eye spy" version of looking through the book to count how many times her name is displayed in the pictures. Her book is especially girly with pink, purple, flowers, frills, and a fancy unicorn. Anne Hope was especially thrilled with seeing her name in print as it is often difficult to find her "whole" name printed on personalized items.

Gibson, my 6 month old exploring books reader, got the book My Name is Gibson. Each page displays his name in a photo of a place in nature. I love the non fiction quality of the pictures in his book, although their is still a story. Before the book arrived I was hesitant about letting Gibson have the book until he was older, but it is perfectly fine to hold up to his chubby fingers, drool and all!

We also received a Racecar puzzle, personalized with this speedy mama's name. The 20piece puzzle is a hit at our house, and provides just the right amount of challenge without the frustration. The puzzle box is also very sturdy for storage, unlike many in our puzzle closet that collapse when they are stacked on top of each other. I also noticed that the packaging was perfect for wrapping. When shaking the box it didn't sound like a puzzle. You all know the kids who guess their presents as they open them, and you know how obvious puzzles usually are when you shake. Not this one!

What do I LOVE about Frecklebox?
~The quality lamination is chew proof and sturdy.
~The illustrations are very bright, cheerful, and kid friendly.
~The personalization is included throughout the book in different fonts, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters. This is important as it teaches the kids to recognize their name in different formats.
~Hardbound books are also availabe.
~There are a variety of genres available in the product line.
~The process of personalizing and ordering the books is very user friendly.
~The option of adding a personalized dedication is a special feature.

Interested in Frecklebox?
Buy it! Visit their site and make a personalized product today!
Win it! Frecklebox is giving one of ABC & 123's reader's a free personalized product of their choice! The giveaway will be open now until midnight Sunday May 31, 2009 EST

To Enter: You MUST go over to Frecklebox's site, browse their fabulous selection of products, and then come back and leave us a comment as to which product you'd choose if you won.

To Earn Extra Entries: You MUST do the first option, described above FIRST and then you can choose additional methods from the choices below. A separate comment MUST be left for each additional entry.

~Follow our blog, remind us if you already do!
~Post our Summer Prize Picnic Button, let us know so we can come check it out
~Post about the Frecklebox giveaway and leave us a link to it
~Follow us on Twitter AND Tweet about the Frecklebox giveaway. Then leave us a link to your tweet.
~Make a purchase from Frecklebox during the time the giveaway is open

Good Luck!

Don't forget this Thursday is our first Picnic Table Talk! Come on by and link up, introduce yourself to everyone, and visit other members of our community!

Disclaimer: We received our products from Frecklebox, free of charge in return for writing a review of their products and hosting a giveaway on our blog. We want to stress that our opinions are genuine and no effort was made to influence them by the company.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

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For those of you who are not familiar with this holiday, today is Memorial Day in the United States, where a majority of our readership is from. In the US, it is a three day weekend for most of us and the start of grilling season. Memorial Day is also a time to remember the men and women who have defended our country. To honor those who have fought and returned and those who, sadly, have not.

A lot of us take our freedoms for granted, and while we may not all agree on the reasons why our armed forces are sent places, I feel that we should all honor and respect those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect us and our country. It is not easy to leave families and friends behind and trade our lives in for whatever lies ahead during a period of deployment to unfamiliar places and I respect that immensely.

Last year a close neighbor was faced with the possibility her husband would be called to reenter active service leaving her as a single mother with three young children. That's the first time, the reality of being a military family really hit me as her friends and family scrambled to find ways to support her and prepare her girls for their father's imminent departure. Luckily for her, her husband did not end up being reactivated but I know that for many other families that is not the case.

I hope that this Memorial Day we all take a moment to honor and thank our armed forces, especially those who will never rejoin their families for a barbecue or enjoy the simple pleasures of a summer's day. This year I will also take time to thank the families of our military men and women, who surely also make a very big sacrifice for our country.

Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot

PS: We hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day and will join us for the kick off event of the Summer Prize Picnic tomorrow. We've got a wonderful company to share with you!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Family & Respect

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During the summer many families spend more time together. In fact, we often have the opportunity to reunite with family members from near and far as we vacation & picnic! Having the family together is an excellent time to celebrate each other, practice respect, and demonstrate being respectful! Here are a few suggestions for you & your families!

Any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins
A group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together.

To show regard or appreciate for someone. To acknowledge their worth and uniqueness as a person.

Talk About It:
~What does family mean to you?
~What do you do to stay in touch with your family who is far away?
~What is your perfect family experience?
~Who is someone in your family that you really respect? Why?
~Have you ever been respectful to someone who is disrespectful to you?
~What does it mean to be respectful? disrespectful?
~Give examples of being self-respectful.
~Should you respect yourself as much as you respect others?

The Happy Home Club offers suggestions for families about ways to celebrate each other once a day, once a week, once a month, once a year, and once in awhile. There are some very valuable ideas listed in this printable lesson guide.

School Family shares a nice article suggesting way to use everyday opportunities to teach respect.

Building Blocks also has an article on showing respect to our family.

Looking for poems about respect? Building Blocks also provides a lesson plan for creating your own respect poem.

Respect Poetry
Quotes About Respect

Value Parenting explains several games appropriate for different age levels geared toward defining & role playing respect. These ideas would be helpful in planning a family night.

Family Reunion is a site that suggests many different idea that are appropriate for summer family gatherings. The family quilt is an interesting way to feature the uniqueness of each family member and talk about respecting our individualities.

Other Suggestions:
~Interview family members on a variety of topics. Turn the answers into trivia questions. Take turns reading and answering the questions around the dinner table (or picnic table) with your family.
~Ask questions of other family members and listen respectfully to their answers.
~Embrace Differences
~Look for Common Ground
~Learn to Accept
~Give Second Chances

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Read Kiddo Read: Get Help Making Summer Reading Lists

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Through the advancements of technology, I found out about this great resource via Twitter user Moomettesgram aka Cindy at Moomettesgram's Musings. She did such a great write up about it, that I had to click right on over to Read Kiddo Read.

It's a great resource from author James Patterson with detailed descriptions of books broken up into age ranges:

Great Illustrated Books, 0-8 years
Great Transitional Books, Ages 6 & Up
Great Page Turners, Ages 8 & Up
Great Advanced Reads, Ages 10 & Up

In the Great Illustrated Books section the books are further broken down into Books for Babies, Storybooks, Easy Kid Reads, and Just the Facts for non fiction books. I really liked how a detailed description of each featured book is provided along with themes covered in it and the extensive lists of suggested books that cover similar topics given for each featured book.

While you're there don't miss clicking on the Community tab at the top. Where you'll get access to more great resources like the Almost Can't-Miss Sure Shot Books for Boys and an Almost Can't-Miss Sure Shot for Girls lists.

It's also where I learned about BookRix. You can find free ebooks there, including many children's books. If you've always dreamed of being an author you can also make, upload, and share your own books. I was able to browse the collections by clicking on the Books tab at the top and then doing a search for Children's books.

I also found out about 30 Poets 30 Days at Gotta Book through the community postings. What fun, I can't wait to check out the 30 previously unpublished children's poems by well known authors such as Jack Prelutsky.

I was thinking this would be a good way for parents to put together summer reading lists. I hope you enjoy perusing it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sidewalk Chalk

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Please check out our FAQ in the left sidebar.

For today's Fun Friday Activity, we're highlighting sidewalk chalk, it's a fun way to take art outside, but don't stop there. There are almost as many ways to use sidewalk chalk as there are ways to make it. Have fun!


All Free Crafts has a recipe for sidewalk chalk.
Mom's Budget shares her recipe for chalk.
They also have an interesting recipe for eggshell chalk.
Blisstree's recipe for chalk is scented and glittery - fun!
Frugal Family's has a "cheap and easy" recipe.
Want a neon blend? Try Bugdet 101's recipe.
My Sidewalk Chalk has a color changing recipe.
Easy Fun School has an eggshell recipe & a cornstarch recipe.
Ohdeedoh has a recipe for sidewalk paint.
eBeanstalk sells a great set of Doug & Melissa triangular sidewalk chalks that are easy to grasp.
Kiddio made multi-colored heart shaped chalk.
Take a look at Carol Weatherford's complete Lesson Guide for Sidewalk Chalk: Poems of the City.

Host a neighborhood wide "Chalk the Walk" day. Encourage the kids to fill your area sidewalks with colorful designs.

Super Heroes and Princesses had all kinds of fun with chalk. They incorported the story A Piece of Chalk by Jennifer A. Ericsson.

They also experimented with chalk painting.

The Masked Momma and her daughter demonstrated painting with sidewalk chalk.

They even integrated their theme book for the week!

Sidewalk chalk aids in the study of how the sun moves and creates shadows. Trace the shadow of an object on the sidewalk. Leave the object in place and check back on it to watch the shadow move over time.

A to Z Kids Stuff has 2 fun sidewalk chalk game suggestions: Heart Break & Stake Out.

Chalk can also be used to:

~draw a hopscotch board
~write numbers for shuffleboard
~design a course for bikes or scooters to travel down.
~four square boxes
~sidewalk tic-tac-toe
~score keeping during outdoor games

Thank you again to everyone who submitted an idea for this post, remember we can't do it without all of your help! Thanks for your support!
Don't forget to check in next week to find out about our first sponsor for our Big Summer Prize Picnic!

We hope you're all planning on joining next Thursday for our first Picnic Table Talk and will be inviting us over to visit your blog by linking up!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

ABC & 123's Summer Prize Picnic

It may be awhile until the official calendar start of summer, but the weather is already heating up. We're all starting to bring out the flip flops and shorts. The kids getting will be out of school soon, so we thought we'd get a jump on summer and kick off our big summer celebration! We're so excited to share with you the big announcement we've been alluding to!

You're Invited:

To ABC & 123's Summer Prize Picnic!
A season's worth of educational resources and enticing prizes!

We'll provide the main dish at our weekly picnics, we've got goodies galore to giveaway!

We'd like YOU to help us by bringing the side dishes, your excellent learning activities!

And together, we'll be sharing conversations during our weekly summer feature, Picnic Table Talk!

Favorite beverage & a lounge chair optional!

We'll Have at our Prize Picnic:
~Weekly giveaways
~Introduction to new resources
~Weekly Picnic Table Talk conversation starters and sharing with Mr. Linky
~The chance to get to know each other, the fabulous men and women, who read and contribute to this Learning Cooperative!

Prize Picnic Details
Monday:Previous week's giveaway winner announced
Tuesday: New resource introduced
Wednesday: Weekly thematic post
Thursday:Picnic Table Talk link party
Friday: Alternating Fun Friday & Alphabet features

Our first Picnic Table Talk link party will be next week, and we'd love for you to join us by scheduling an introduction post on your own blogs. It's your chance to welcome us to your home in blogland and let us know all about you and your family. Use this post to feature some of your favorite links from your archives too. Be ready to come back a week from today, May 28th, to link up.

Some more suggestions for your introduction:
~About you & your family
~How long have you been reading ABC & 123?
~How did you come up with your blog title
~What types of activities do you most enjoy doing with your children?
~What is your favorite picnic activity and food?
~What are your summer plans?

We'll let you know the topic for each Picnic Table Talk post ahead of time so you'll have time to plan your posts or search your archives. We'd like a lot of participation and lots of links each week! We know you already have common interests and we'd love for to create more community here on ABC & 123. This is your chance to meet and greet everyone, make new friends, and show yourself off! Please join in!

As you can see, we've got a ton of fun planned this summer, so be sure to check in each week! The only thing that could make the picnic more exciting is PRIZES. We've lined up some fantastic companies to join in and sponsor this event! Come back each week to find out about our featured sponsor and their giveaway! We encourage you to visit and support all of our sponsors!

Sponsored By:

Baby Love Blankies
Cotton Top Quilts
Nest Kids
It's The Small Things
Daily Whisper
Beauty in Backlight
Zooples & Co.
And Then...
Counting Bunnies
Polliwog Learning Products


Two Little Monkeys

See Kai Run

Would you like to see your company's name up there?
If you have a product you would like for us to review during the Prize Picnic, contact us today! We'd love to take a look at your items, suggest great ways to use the items with our families, and host your giveaway!

Invite Your Friends to ABC & 123's Summer Prize Picnic!
To help spread the word & build excitement we are asking you to become an official picnic participant! All you need to do is grab the Prize Picnic button and post it somewhere on your site. Doing so will even earn you an extra entries in each week's giveaway!

If you do not have a blog you are still welcome to participate. Other entry requirements for each week's giveaway will vary.

We would also like to take a moment to THANK YOU for the great submissions that have been coming in this week! We really appreciate them all. We were also thrilled to be able to put our effort into kicking off the Prize Picnic instead of filling our posts this week. Thank you!

From those of you who made submissions we have drawn 2 winners for the Dr. Sear's books.

Commenter #4 - Life of a Dairy Queen
Commenter #8 - Letters, Numbers and Books

Please email us with your mailing information and we will send your books on their way!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On the Farm: Baby Animals

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Today Wondertime Wednesday heads to the farm!

Springtime is a natural time to study and visit a farm. After being inside all winter, it's fun to take learning outside and seeing all the baby animals and the first plants of the season are fun and exciting ways to learn about a variety of subjects. This post is a companion piece to all the wonderful gardening activities shared last week so be sure you check those out too.

Thank you to everyone who shared a great idea, don't forget there is still time to send us an activity submission and be entered into our Dr. Sears book giveaway! Come back tomorrow to see the winners and find out about our big plans for the summer!

Michelle and her daughter experimented with negative space painting while learning about farm animals.Thinking of focusing on pigs during your farm stay?
Check out Denise's fun Pig Poetry Chart and activity.
Objective: develop concepts of print; count groups of objects to five.
They also demonstrated the designing of a fun farm scene using stickers.
Joann submitted a link full of resources related to planning a farm animals unit. She has a ton of good ideas so be sure to check them out, we like how they sorted plastic farm animals.
Keri at The Home Teacher put together an on the farm quiet kit and an add on activity. The kit includes lacing cards, memory cards, I Spy game, books, puppets and more. What a fantastic resource.
Thanks to Julie at The Girl who Painted Trees for pointing us toward Can Teach and their collection of Farm poems and songs.
Lovin' the adorable, 3D sheep Jolanthe crafted with her kids.

Denise submitted a great group of down on the farm fun!
Who Was in the Barn? Poem Chart
Objective: developing concepts of print; practice farm animal names and sounds
Feed the Chicks Counting Game
Objective: develop number concepts
Wishy Washy Day
Objective: dramatize familiar stories & have fun!Katie at Katie's Nesting Spot is getting ready for a farm field trip with a variety of activities like animal sounds patterns, habitat sort, and pennies for piggies.