Peep and the Big Wide World

Peep and the Big Wide World is a fun learning show for preschoolers and recommended for ages 3-5.  It explores basic science concepts with nature.  A little about the show: "Set in and around a pond, a bush, and a tin can, the show follows a newly hatched chicken named Peep, and his friends Chirp and Quack (a robin and a duck), on their daily adventures. Surrounding them is a large urban park — a place of great wonder and mystery, a place they are forever eager to explore, a place they call "the big wide world.""

We've checked out Peep DVD's from our library many times and enjoy it!  A new season begins Jan. 2010 on public television- it's a WGBH program.  In Utah you can watch Peep and the Big Wide World on digital channel 9.1 (uen).

For every story there are 2 recommended booksJust like Sesame Street, this can be an easy and fun preschool time with your child.
* Play games with Peep and Friends or find some activities!
* It's narrated by Joan Cusack.  See why she loves this show!

Reindeer Memory Game

I made a fun reindeer memory game with these free printable Reindeer Tags from babalisme.  She uses to share her printables so if you want the reindeer you have to sign-up!

Here's my tutorial if you'd like to use packing tape to cover them!

Supplies: 2 sheets of reindeer, card stock, glue stick, good packing tape, small baggie

1- cut out all reindeer
2- cut card stock squares (height 1 7/8"x width 2"-- measure exact to fit packing tape size)
3- (skip to #4 if only using squares) cut card stock circles-- if you don't have a circle punch/cutter it might be easier to glue reindeer first and then cut around them
4- glue reindeer to card stock with a small dot of glue  
5- lay down a 4½" or 5" piece of packing tape sticky side up and place one square/circle face side down to right half of the tape carefully making sure it fits in tape height and then fold over the rest of the piece to cover the back-- cut off extra tape
6- tape 'Reindeer' and some of the festive border on a snack-size bag to hold game
7- Have fun playing memory!!
* I made my game with both circles and squares to hopefully make it easier for my 3 year old to find matches. *

Button Fun for the Season

Homemade Gifts for Kids to Make:
◘  Button Bookmarks on Family Fun  ◘
◘  Button Baubles on Family Fun 

Crafts for Kids:
◘  Snowman Button Mosaic from Flipflops and Applesauce  ◘
◘  Button Snowflake Ornament on Parents  ◘

Peppermint Candy Ornaments

Two years ago I saw a segment on Decorating with Peppermint on Studio 5 (a morning show in Utah) and I got excited about the peppermint ornaments.  I made 20+ for my tree and they're my favorite ornaments.  These would make great neighbor gifts and a whole set could be a unique gift for newlyweds!

Arrange 5 to 6 peppermints on a foil lined pan with space in between each candy (start with making 2 or 3 first to see how they turn out)
Bake at 250° for 10-15 minutes-- watch closely 

After all the melting is complete:
*Spray one side with sealer-- allow to dry
Spray the other side with sealer-- allow to dry
Tie a ribbon around each ornament

*Spray in a well-ventilated area with newspaper down and wax paper under the ornaments.

A big bag (over 3 lbs.) of Brach peppermint candies at Walmart is under $5.  I made some green ones with the Great Value brand and they still turned out. I spent around $11.00 to make 30 ornaments (includes mess-ups).  You will have plenty of mess-ups-- sometimes they cracked after cooking and many times just one candy didn't want to melt good and it ruined the whole ornament.  When storing, layer them on wax paper in a small box and keep in a normal/cool temperature area if possible.

Barbie Kelly Dolls

 Barbie Kelly Dolls are cute and age-appropriate for my 6 year old daughter.  She has a Kelly Club 5 set (the 'hair stylist' gave them updated looks last Christmas Eve) and has a fun time with them.
CONS: Changing outfits can be difficult for little hands.  The shoes are even smaller than regular Barbie so they're even easier to lose!  The legs won't do a complete 90° angle to sit right.  Kelly Dolls are almost non-existent in local stores.  Every little girl wants a wardrobe for her doll but you have to search for clothes online and most of the time pay unreasonable prices for them.

PROSLike I said, they're age-appropriate for little girls.  They have adorable clothes that are cutesy and girly.  Role playing with Kelly Dolls is a lot less dramatic than with Barbies.  They take up very little space since they don't drive cars or own homes.  They're too young to have boyfriends or bras.

Search 'Kelly Club 5 Dolls', 'Kelly Dolls'  or 'Barbie I Can Be Kelly' on Amazon and eBay.  There are seller stores on eBay that sell individual dolls, clothes, outfits, shoes and accessories (on the left side do a search for 'kelly dolls' under where it says 'Search for a Store').

My daughter's getting the Barbie I Can Be... Kelly Professions set from Grandma for ChristmasTip- On Amazon the picture isn't always the exact product.  If you look at this picture or view all the images you might be confused.  Scroll down and look at Product Features and 4 dolls are listed.
2/2010- After playing with this set with my daughter I noticed they're slightly larger than the Kelly Club 5 dolls she has.

RECIPE: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know there's an 'easy' cake mix version of pumpkin cookies but I prefer these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They're a favorite at our house, especially at this time of year.  The link will take you to a recipe blog I have with my girlfriends. 

RECIPE: Warm Fall Punch

 This is a delicious drink for the season.  A change from cider and perfect for gatherings or drop-in visitors on Halloween night.  I received this recipe last year from a friend's sister.

Warm Fall Punch
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups orange juice
¾ cup lemon juice
1 tsp. almond extract
2 quarts water (64 ounces / 8 cups)
In a large saucepan combine 2 cups water and sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with whisk.  Boil about 5 minutes.  Add o.j., lemon juice, and almond.  Stir, add 2 quarts water and heat through.  Store in a container in the fridge and enjoy a warm mug full whenever!
Makes about 3 ½ quarts (112 ounces / 14 cups).

Decorate with Yarn Pumpkins

I saw Make and Takes Pumpkin Yarn Craft and knew they'd look good in my house as decorations!  Follow the directions carefully and your pumpkins will be great!  I made some to give away as prizes for a Lil' Pumpkin Trivia Game at a baby shower last Friday.

Owly by Andy Runton

This cute Owly Read poster was found on Suite 101

I was introduced to Owly by a book display at my library this summer.  Owly is a comic/graphic novel that is absolutely adorable!!  Andy Runton does a wonderful job of drawing super cute characters and telling a story without words!  You have to "read" the characters expressions and thought/dialogue bubbles that contain pictures.  It's actually a challenge for the brain!  Owly graphic novels are for kids of all ages (and adults too ).  My daughter is 6 and we've "read" Owly • A Time to be Brave together.

On there are so many fun things to find.  On the Goodies page there are Owly Desktop Pictures and Owly Button Desktop Icons!!  On the Owly As... page there are sketches of Owly as a Pirate Captain, Astronaut, Superman, Oscar the Grouch, a Red Sox Fan and tons more!

There's an Owly review on Kidliterate, an Interview with Andy Runton on Riverside Reads and on Suite 101 they have an interesting article called Teach Owly Graphic Novels to Reluctant Readers.  Buy an Owly book from Top Shelf or Amazon or see if your library has them!

Search with Swag Bucks

Swag Bucks is a search engine that rewards you.  I've been a member since April and I've earned enough Swag Bucks for two $5 Amazon gift cards.  If you've never joined and want to please use my referral link. You'll be helping me to earn Swag Bucks when you do!

Home Preschooling Helps

I did 2 years of Home Preschool with my daughter and will be doing the same with my son. Babyzone has a good article about this choice.  The best tip I have is to stay on top of lesson plans and get your prep work done at least the weekend before.

If Home Preschooling isn't on your mind these links can be helpful in finding toddler and preschooler fun! This list of resources was compiled long ago but I try to keep it updated. 

Alphabet and Reading:
Starfall- ABC's
Starfall- Learn to Read
Starfall- ABC Practice Printouts 
KidZone- Alphabet Recognition and Printing Practice
ChildFun- Sets of Alphabet Coloring Pages  (scroll down a little)
Fisher Price- Alphabet Coloring Pages

American Sign Language:

Preschool Themes:
Everything Preschool- Preschool Themes
Preschool Express- Preschool Themes
Activity Idea Place- Activity Themes
ChildFun- Activity Themes
Preschool Education- Theme Topics
First School- Preschool Themes
Gayle's Preschool Rainbow- Activity Central
Child Care Lounge- Activities and Themes

DLTK- Number Buddies
Activity Idea Place- Fingerprint Fun
StoryPlace- Pre-school Library
FamilyFun- Arts and Crafts
Kinder Friends- Free Resources
dmoz- Open Directory: ABC's and 123's
Online Preschool- Toddler Activities & Games

Learning Fun:
Tessy & Tab Fun for Kids
National Geographic Little Kids
Kids National Geographic
NASA Kids' Club

Other Helps:
Lakeshore Learning- pre-k/4 yrs. products
Free printable file folder games- File Folder Fun

Here's what we did with the Fingerprint Fun at Activity Idea Place.

Hi, I'm Chels!

Welcome to my blog-- I'm so glad you're here!  Fantastic Find has no particular topic but I share a lot of kid stuff (some my own, most from others) and more!  I have three kids-- 13, 10, and 5-- and we craft, sing, read, create, and play together!  I blog just for fun and really love to share good things!

Gymboree Bubbles

These are a must have if your kids enjoy bubbles. The Gymboree Bubble Ooodles set is terrific! The bubbles are little, there's loads and they linger longer! What's not to like about that?! You can purchase them at any Gymboree store or on their website. The solution is better than normal bubbles and I'm assuming it's because of the glycerin content. They will leave behind a (cleanable) trail, even on the tops of your kids heads! Here's a good review I found that tells you everything about them. Have fun blowing bubbles this Spring!