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A Few of My Favorite Things

Pretty Princess Beads Preschool Bag

Pretty Princess Beads Preschool Bag

I started to brainstorm yesterday for a few simple (I can't really emphasize that word enough) busy bags I could take with me to Ecuador. Since my brain juice is running on low, I resorted to an old standby that Simon played with more times than I can tell. He had a bag with pipecleaners and beads. If I remember right, the beads were dolphins and other cute sea creatures. 

Well, it's long gone. And I am all on the big pink girly-girl band wagon right now. You should expect nothing less from a mom who has been buying boy clothes and toys for almost 13 years. I never, ever thought I'd have a daughter. Now that I'm standing right on the brink of bringing Sweet Girl home, well, it's like I swallowed the Pinkalicious book or something. 

You only need two things for this busy bag: pipecleaners and beads.

Supplies for Princess Beads Busy Bag

I spent $6 on beads at Hobby Lobby (1/2 price this week). I'm not counting the cost on the pipe cleaners. These poor pink pipe cleaners have been hanging out in the craft box for years.

What's the purpose of this pinkness?

Princess Beads Preschool Busy Bag

  • This activity bag increases fine motor skills.
     
  • You can use the manipulatives for pattern making.
     
  • You can sort the beads by size (small and large) or even color on to pipe cleaners.
     
  • And, my favorite, it's an easy way to make some accessories for dress-up. Just twist the pipe cleaner into a circle, and you have a super cute bracelet. 

Pretty Princess Beads Preschool Busy Bag

Looking for more preschool busy bag ideas? That's fantastic because my #1 viewed post is The Ultimate Guide to Preschool Busy Bags! So, go look. 

P.S. I know this is a choking risk for youngers, so use common sense. No pongas eso en tu boca por favor. (And that little bit of Spanish may have taken every drop of brain juice I had left.) Audios

Typing Program for Kids

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Keyboard Classroom: a typing program for kids--that works!

I told Jason the other day there are a few academic skills I want to equip our children with. Solid basic math skills. Good written communication. Fluid readers. And I want them to be able to type well without looking at their fingers. I'm not kidding. Typing actually made my short list. 

We have tried a few programs throughout the years. Cheap. Free. Nothing stuck because nothing really worked.

But Simon has been asking to learn to type, and I feel that sooner is better than later because they do start hacking their way around the keyboard and forming bad habits pretty early. 

We decided to give Keyboard Classroom a whirl.

Keyboard Classroom
It's been so exciting to watch Simon learn to type in a short time. He wants to tell you about it.

Did you catch that? Before he starts typing, he voluntarily claims, "And I really like it." That was not scripted or coached. 

In two weeks my seven-year-old has gone from not being able to type, to being able to type 17 letters. I feel like I need to add one of those disclaimers you see on weight loss commercials: Results not typical. But maybe they are typical.

The finger guides are a key component of Keyboard Classroom–something that was lacking in other programs we tried. The guides were essential to helping Simon figure out where his hands needed to be on the keyboard. Just today I watched him type a message to his dad on my keyboard (without the guides), and he typed like a pro. So, I know the guides won't be necessary forever, but they are a huge help in the beginning.

Learn to Type with Keyboard Classroom!

The program includes incentives (levels and games). Simon is purely motivated by his desire to type and by leveling up. He told me (proud as a peacock) when he leveled up to Sergeant. Students also earn tokens to play in the arcade.

Keyboard Classroom Typing Program for Kids

The program comes with a guarantee. You can read more about it on the Keyboard Classroom website. The cost for the program is $39.95 for one student or $49.95 for 2-5 students. That is a great deal considering I get to check off one of my academic goals for my students! Especially when the program is one that is loved. 

After Reading Charts 1-8

What to Read After Reading Chart 8

Simon completed Reading Chart 8 from the Reading Charts program over a month ago. Now he is a reading champ! He has been enjoying the The Frog and Toad books. Rather than asking him to read each one of these multiple times, I am letting him choose from a basket full of various books.

After Chart 8 I recommend the following:

The Little Bear books by Else Minarik

The Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel

Uncle Elephant by Arnold Lobel

Grasshopper on the Road by Arnold Lobel

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel

Pet Show by Ezra Jack Keats

Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis

After those are complete, I would suggest moving on to Henry and Mudge books.

Congratulations if you've made it this far! Your child will be reading chapter books soon!

Happy Reading!