Thursday, July 21, 2016

Having Fun with Summer Learning!! Preschool & Young Grade School Aged Activities!

The days have finally warmed up here in Michigan and summer is in full effect! We've spent lots of time at the zoo, splash pad, beach, and just plain enjoying being outside. The warmer days were welcomed after our cold winters here. I also like to add in a good helping of summer learning at our house, just to keep all of our brains active and our hands busy, the kids love to craft so that comes naturally and especially my older daughter loves worksheets and projects - so it feels more like fun than a task to be done.

Schools out for summer!

Fun at the beach!

I went back to my routine of having a themed work of learning which worked out really well when I did Preschool at Home projects with the girls. (Check out our Preschool at Home playlists HERE.) Each week we have a different theme that our activities center around, and we may do reading, crafts, writing, field trips and more that revolve around that theme.

Finding Dory water sensory bin!
One of my favorite activities to do whether it is summer learning or preschool at home, are the construction paper letter animals and objects! These became a staple during our preschool at home weeks and really helped the girls learn their letters. I've incorporated them occasionally into our summer learning now that the girls are older even though they know their letters because they are so fun to make and the girls enjoy playing with their creations after they are dry!

Watch a video showing an A-Z overview of our Alphabet Crafts:

So far in early summer, we have completed an Under the Sea theme which was great to work in Finding Dory activities and even go see the movie in the theater that week!  We made a water sensory bin with Orbeez water beads and placed some foam Finding Dory bath tub toys into the water to make a fun under the sea sensory bin!

We also revisited another one of my all time favorite crafts and made the "paper plate fish tank" craft over again!

During Rainforest week, Bella dived into reading the American Girl Lea books, where the Girl of the Year 2016 spends time learning in the rainforest. (Bella is 6, but reading at approximately a 2nd grade level so she has begun working on beginning chapter books.) We made an adorable rainforest layers craft, read rainforest related books, visited the Rainforest Immersion area at the Detroit Zoo, and even had lunch at Rainforest Cafe!

Visiting the Rainforest Immersion area at Detroit Zoo.

And a week all about America, where we talked about some basic concepts in our country, celebrated the 4th of July, and made some awesome clothespin wreath decorations!

Bella's cute "summer themed" clothes pin wreath she crafted!

It was been a great summer so far and we have lots more fun... and even a few exciting SURPRISES planned as well!! I can't wait to share them with you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

American Girl Wellie Wisher Haul!

We were very excited to hear about the all new line from American Girl, specifically designed for girls in the "inbetween" age range - that may be outgrowing wanting to play with baby dolls... but aren't quite ready for the full 18" world quite yet. American Girl recently released the new Wellie Wisher in June 2016 and we wanted to share what we thought about our first order!

Check out our HAUL here!

My girls are ages 4 and 6, and the younger one, Natalie, especially LOVES dolls - all dolls. I knew they would be a hit with her, but with my older daughter, Bella, I was interested to see how she took to the Wellie Wishers line because she's not typically my "doll girl". My girls had been introduced to the 18" dolls and world within the past year, because Bella had never really had an interest in playing with "baby type" dolls, however the 18" dolls and accessories did grab her interest. She liked playing with dolls that she could relate to and were in a stage "more like her".

The girls picked out Willa and Ashlyn for their first two Wellie Wisher dolls, we also ordered two accessory sets, the Nature Explorer set and Berry Sweet Snack Set - along with the Garden Party table and Play stage. As a parent, I was most nervous about ordering the stage because I wasn't sure how much use it would get, but I DID like that it was very different from anything else we had for our dolls.

The stage turned out to be a great accessory for us, and is getting a lot of use. My older daughter loves to sing and perform, so I've seen a lot of creativity with her doll putting on shows on the stage!

My younger daughter who loves all things dolls, of course loved everything instantly - but especially took to the table and berry sweet snack set. Those were good options for her and general play!

We also ordered the wellie boots and socks (that were on backorder at the time of receiving our order), the girls are looking forward to being able to interchange the socks. Also, I would highly recommend sizing up on the boots especially if you're on a size line - my younger daughter wears a size 9 and we ordered her the 10/11 boot that has a good fit and my older daughter wears a size 13 typically, we ordered her a size 1/2 which also fits well.

Also, it should be noted that the girls were quite familiar with the 18" American Girl dolls prior to seeing this line and enjoy playing with those as well - although admittedly the size scale sometimes seems a bit harder for them to maneuver with the 18" dolls. However, they haven't forgone playing with their 18" dolls and accessories since we got the Wellie Wishers. Lea and her accessories are still getting a lot of play time at our house even after receiving the Wellie Wishers, along with their two Truly Me dolls and modern accessories.

Want to see what the girls thought about Lea's accessories? Check out this video on their channel!

All in all, American Girl items get a LOT of play time at our house and have been great for the girls to use their imaginations! I think the Wellie Wisher line is great for their age group and I look forward to adding more Wellie Wisher items and dolls into our collection soon. We still will continue to use our 18" doll items, but I think we will slow down a bit on adding the bigger sized items for a while and I'm happy that we have another option for size appropriate play!