Monday, December 17, 2012

rowan week: a dry erase busy book

this week is all about fun stuff for our, or your, preschooler.

it recently has become very apparent to us that rowan was in need of more structure and schedules to help her grow, excel, and prepare for kindergarten next year. there had become far to much arguing, leaving behind messes, bored whining, and surge of emotions for this household and we have been on a mission to correct it. i have spent a lot of time researching schedules, chores, activities and so on to help us sail into this new way of life - and it isn't just rowan playing along, stella and zoe will be in on all this fun stuff too. that is just it too, while everything has a lesson behind it, we have learned with rowan that she responds really well when something is being presented as a "treat" rather then a strict expectation.

for starters, we put a major halt to tv watching - the girls are allowed a movie here and there, but no more mindless zoning in on nickelodeon anymore. as rowan week unfolds i will talk more about new chores we are doing, how we are calming ourselves down, earning and losing rewards with our behavior, and today about a new busy book for whoever is looking for something to do.
i got really excited when i saw an idea like this on pinterest and pinned it away for safe keeping. seemed like such a genius idea and i have been trying to get around to making busy books forever - after some investigating i saw the version i had pinned was centered around lds conference time, but that didn't stop me from cooking up a version of my own. i wanted it to have a little of everything for everyone, but its core reason of existence was learning. oh, and it had to be relatively mess free - bonus points if it was super inexpensive to make.

so, i started googling and searching pinterest for homeschooling packets, coloring page sites, preschool and kindergarten printable sites, and more - there is a HUGE wealth of all of that out there for free by the way. my two favorite sites that i stumbled upon were:

everything about these sites are their content were super well designed and right up my ally - i may or may not have downloaded all the things. mr printables even has huge wall art, paper crafts, flash cards, seasonal activities, and more. super mom moments was my favorite for grabbing easy to use worksheets and tips on how to utilize their content.

to kick start our book i just downloaded a little here and there - some kindergarten readiness stuff like lowercase and uppercase letter matching and tracing, opposites work sheets, and color wheels. i added some fun coloring pages and a us map with capitals for when we are ready to get a little more advanced. i threw in a constellation map for fun and typed out in dashed letters, the whole names of everyone in our family and other good words to learn how to write and spell, like washington and barack obama. especially for rowan i added a very user friendly time work sheet - something that she has recently show interest in and i would love to help her master that now if she is wiling! in the very back are blank wide lined pages for practicing any sort of writing they want, rowan is always wanting to know how to spell obscure things and this will be perfect for that. some of the pages rowan will need to ask for help for but i am excited to work in this book with her.

for the front and back cover i just printed this adorable alphabet poster from mr printables and added my own text for the front one and left the back alone in case someone needs a quick reference for letters.

did i mention it was dry erase? 

with a quick trip to target for supplies, i picked up some crayola dry erase crayons (that come with a cloth!) and some up and up brand sheet protectors. now, they will be able to write on the pages as they work through and continue to use the same ones over and over without wasting away our printer ink reprinting. plus, they're crayons so no marker mess and smell, score!

this whole project cost me only eight dollars as i had the binder already and printed all the sheets at home! to start, the book only has about twenty-five pages in it but when i can get more organized i want to get sets ready to switch out weekly or monthly. i saw a lot of packs that focus on seasonal themes that would be a lot of fun and there are so many coloring page options that i am sure they will always be begging for new ones. if stella takes a liking to this too then i will have to make her, her own with more toddler appropriate activities - we have been meaning to start some basic preschool homeschooling for her anyway to get her ready for going to rowan's current school next year.
so far it is a hit! not that asking for tv had been an issue as of late, but i am willing to bet that rowan would rather bury her face in this then watch cartoon any day! i am already thinking of sitting down with her this week and letting her pick out some of the coloring pages that are going in - maybe christmas themed?

can't wait to hear if you make one yourself and what kinds of things you chose to add!