Sunday, April 11, 2010

Flower and Plant Week!

What a fun, happy week we have planned at the Johnson home!! Spring is here (maybe, if it doesn't snow again!:) and we have some fun flower/plant theme activities planned.

The first thing I am really excited to do with Skylar is a very simple science experiment. She has recently discoverd the TV show "Sid the Science Kid" and she is obsessed! Every day she asks me when we can do an experiment :) One thing I have learned with my children is if they are showing an interest in something I need to jump on it and take every opportunity I have to get them excited about learning. And if today it happens to be science experiments, so be it!! We did this probably two years ago, but now she is actually old enough to understand :) All you do is get a bunch of white carnations. Then you fill up cups with water and different colored drops of food coloring, and as the flowers drink up the water you can see them changing colors! :) I think it will be a fun way to explain how plants and flowers need water, and I'm also thinking we could put together a graph showing which colors affect the flowers the most.

Another fun activity we did when Skylar was in a cute little playgroup a few years ago. One of the moms had the best idea :) She got little planters and let the kids plant grass seeds. The great idea was they planted the seed to form their first initial. So as the grass grows, it will form an S or a K for my girls, and I think they will love looking at them :)

In the last few weeks I have dedicated myself to helping not only myself but also my kids be more healthy, so I was excited to find some fun ideas for healthy snacks this week. First up we will be attempting this...

Ok, probably won't turn out QUITE like that, but I think it will be fun to attempt :) Sometimes its also as simple as making PB&J sandwhiches for lunch and using the flower shaped cookie cutter...I don't know, my kids love it!!

The thing we are looking forward to the most is attending the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. This is one of our favorite activities that we have done the last few years, and I am excited to do it again! Hopefully the weather cooperates and we can spend some quality family time together in the beautiful gardens.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week and take some time to treasure all the precious moments we have with our little ones!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Week!

What a great week we have planned!! Hopefully we continue to have beautiful spring weather to go along with it! :) Tonight I am just posting some fun activities we will be doing this week that deal more with the secular part of Easter. I have a great fhe I will post about tomorrow and some other fun ways we can really try to focus on the Savior more and the Easter Bunny less this Easter, but for now heres a few ways to entertain your kiddos this week:

First off is this adorable craft-

Handprint Easter Lilies!! All you do is trace the kids hands, cut out the tracings and roll them up to form a lily. Then you tape them to a straw and there you have it! When I was on bedrest last year my darling sister-in-law made these with my kids while she was watching them for the day. Love you Jen ;)

Then a fun snack that the kids love to make, edible egg nests! And I just realized that my other sister-in-law made these with my kids while I was on bedrest too! Thanks Crista :) Wow, what a great family I have!

Photo from :)

This is a fun week to play some education games using plastic easter eggs! One thing we love to do is get a bunch of our eggs and and write different letters on them, upper and lowercase. Then I have the kids run around in a mock easter egg hunt and try to match up the letters. You could also use these to sort and help teach the younger kids about colors. My younger daughter is working on learning about shapes so we will take advantage of that this week and focus on the difference between circles and ovals using the eggs.

Tomorrow I am going to the craft store to pick up some styrafoam egg shapes. Then I am going to let the kids paint them, glitter them, etc! And of course the old standby...dyeing Easter eggs! I just realized I have yet to do this with my kids, I can't believe I held out this long!

I hope you all have a wonderful week with your families. I love this time of year, a time of rebirth and a time to renew our spirits and find the beauty and joy that are all around us!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Farm Week

Spring is in the air and I am absolutely thrilled about it!! :) I thought this would be a perfect week to learn about farms and farm animals. There are alot of great ideas out there, and some really fun things I can't wait to do. For more fun ideas check out all the links on my sidebar, there are some very creative people out there.

My favorite thing we will be doing this week is going to a local farm. The kids LOVE going there and feeding all the animals and taking pony rides too :) They have a really cool display on how we get milk, so we will focus on that aspect of the farm. I also want to talk about the different foods that come from farms so for a snack we will bring apples, veggies, etc.

One day we will focus completely on pigs :) I want to read the kids The Three Little Pigs and then do a really fun craft to go with it. Out of cardboard you cut out 3 house shapes. Then let the kids make each of the 3 houses using dried grass (straw), toothpicks (sticks), and squares of red paper (bricks). Another fun craft I found was to make pig noses out of egg cartons. Let the kids paint them pink and then draw on black nostrils. Then attach a string and walaah!! Of course if you need a fun snack for that day, pigs in a blanket will do just fine :)

Finally one day I thought we could learn about lambs. Using cotton balls we'll let the kids make their own fluffy lambs, and talk about how they are sheared and where wool comes from.

I am excited to use this week to hopefully help my kids become more aware of the world and where things come from. We have so much that we often take for granted, hopefully they will learn a lot and have some fun too :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patricks Day and Rainbows

What a fun, fun week we are going to have! I don't know why, but I just love St. Patricks day :) Check out my post from last year on some fun traditions that we do in our family. This year we will keep the ones we did last year, and also be adding a few new fun things.

Going off of our fhe that we are having tonight we are going to be talking a lot about rainbows this week too. On that note check out these fantastic pancakes the kids will be waking up to on St. Patricks Day...

Too cute!!

On they had the great idea to make a rainbow fruit salad. Using yellow pears, green and purple grapes, raspberries, blueberries and mandarin oranges and then have the kids pick out and identify each color.

Now, St. Patty's Day fun! :) On they had a lot of great ideas and songs. I don't know about your kids but my almost 5 year old LOVES to learn new songs, so I think this week we will learn this one:

Tune: "I'm a Little Teapot"
I'm a little shamrock,
Look at me.
Here are my green leaves,
One, two, and three.
When I'm out you know
It's time to say
Have a happy
St. Patrick's Day!

Another darling idea was to make Leprechaun Dust. You simply take old, cleaned out baby food jars, I am going to decorate them with green paper and lots of gold glitter :) Then you pour some instant pistachio pudding mix in the bottom. Have the kids add some milk, put the lid back on and shake to their little hearts content!

Finally before we do our annual 4-leaf clover search we are going to make leprechaun hats. Simply take a plain paper bowl, let the kids go crazy with green paing and glitter and voila! Hole punch the brim of the bowl and tie a string through to make their very own unique leprechaun hat!

Have a happy St. Patricks Day!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rainbow Family Home Evening

I am so excited for this Family Home Evening! This week we are learning about St Patricks day and Rainbows and I was happy to come up with something that would go along with our theme.

We are going to start by talking about leprachauns and how they are always looking for the end of the rainbow so they can get to the pot of gold. We are going to talk about how beautiful rainbows are, and what they represent for our family.

Red= Love
Orange= Service
Yellow= Happiness
Green= Knowledge
Blue= Faith
Purple= Honesty

On the floor we will have tons of squares of papers in all the different colors of the rainbow. One at a time, starting with red, I will ask the kids to pick up all the papers of that color. Then they will tape them all up on the wall and we will talk about what that color represents. For instance, Red=Love, Jesus taught us that we should love one another. We need to love everyone, even if people are mean to us. We will do this for each of the colors. By the end we will have a "rainbow" of squares leading around the corner. Around the corner I will have a pot of Gold (gold chocolate coins). Of course, this represents what we will find if we do all the things represented in our "rainbow", eternal life and being with our family forever!

I am excited for this lesson for several reasons. I love a good visual, and I hope we can make the rainbow a reminder for our family of all the things we need to do to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bugs and Butterflies Week

Spring is on its way and what better time to learn all about bugs and butterflies? I am so excited to do some fun activities with the kiddos this week, we have been crazy busy and I am THRILLED to get back to our weekly themes :)

I found a really fun song on one of the preschool sites, and it goes to the tune of Wheels on the Bus :

The fireflies at night go blink, blink, blink,
blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink,
The fireflies at night go blink, blink, blink,
out in the garden.
Caterpillars/on the leaves/munch
Spiders/in the bush/spin their webs

To go with the songs I printed out pictures of each insect, colored, and laminated them. When we go to sing the song the kids will get to pick a picture out and then we will sing the corresponding verse.

I am excited to do a fun butterfly craft with the girls. Once again it will be a footprint/handprint craft, love those!! They will use their feet and hands for the wings and then color the body and antenea. I'm thinking their will be lots of glitter too :)

As always, gotta have fun treats!! The old standby we couldn't do without...Ants on a log. We have actually never had these so I think my kids will love them. I also found a fun idea on Check out these cute ladybugs!

They are just made of strawberries, grapes and mini chocolate chips.

I would love to hear any great ideas you have for fun insect activities, feel free to leave a comment. Have a great week!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Noah's Ark Family Home Evening

This one is a little bit thrown together, but I hope its still fun and the kids learn something :)

I've been thinking about our family home evenings, and I've decided I want each week to include a scripture story, and then we can expound on the lesson that story deals with. I want to try and foster a love for the scriptures in my children, and help them see that they truly were written for us, that they are applicable even today!

Today's story is Noah and the Ark. As we talk about the story I have gathered all the stuffed animals we own and will hide them around the house. Then I have a biq plastic bucket that we are going to pretend is the ark. Once we talk about how Noah was obedient and even though everyone teased him he still did what Heavenly Father wanted him too, the kids will climb in the boat. Then we will put all the stuffed animals in with them. Then we will read about how the wind and the rain came down, meanwhile rocking the basket and spraying the kids with my little water-sprayer-fan thing :) (I think this will be their favorite part:)

To close I really want to talk about how obedient Noah was, even in the face of persecution. How we need to strive to have a close relationship with Heavenly Father, so we can find out what he would have us do, and once we DO find that out, let nothing get in the way of us accomplishing our Father's will.

Finally for treats we are having good old-fashioned animal cookies. You know, the yummy pink and white ones? :) Happy Monday!

Keeping it simple

I wrote the title to this post, and then had to laugh. I should hardly be telling anyone how to keep things simple!! Not really one of my strengths ;)

I just wanted to give an idea on one thing I make sure to do every week, even if we can't really do much else as far as the weekly theme goes. Let's be honest, some weeks I (and you I am sure) am just trying to keep my head above water, let alone plan and follow through with some amazing activities for the kids. But by doing this simple thing I still feel like I am teaching my kids something and we are accomplishing things.

Simply go to (check out the link on my sidebar) and click on the Alphabuddies section. Then they have templates for each letter. It has an upper and lowercase letter. I print, cut them out, and glue on to cute scrapbook paper. Then we hang it up on the frigde under the sign that says "Letter of the week". In that same section they have tracer pages also for each letter. I print out a few of these, and throughout the week we practice writing that letter. Its great for my 4 year old who loves to write and is working hard on developing that skill, and its helping my 2 year old start to recognize letters.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Excercise Week!

Since we learned all about our bodies last week, I thought it would be great to follow up this week with learning about excercise! I also wanted to do this while it was cold outside. It seems like when the weather is nicer the kids automatically are more active, but its the winter months that we really seem to become couch potatoes!

There are a lot of frightening statistics regarding obesity and children in the United States. My hope is that some of these activities can help my children (and myself!) see how vital excercise is, and also how fun!!

I found a FANTASTIC article on the website It had some fun excercises to do that were all named after veggies or fruits. I printed out and colored pictures of the individual fruits and veggies, and I am hoping that we can do these fun excercises everyday, and by the end of the week when I hold up the corresponding picture the kids will know what excercise that means! Here is the entire article for your viewing pleasure :)
For general warm-ups, try the "Tater Tot Trot." Jog in place and pump your arms. Every ten steps or so slowly stretch your neck, look back at the right shoulder and then at the left shoulder. For "Spud Sprints" look straight ahead and speed up to a running pace. It is important that students land on their heels and not on their toes. If fairly large plot of ground is available, try trotting on a running trail inside or outside. The "Trot" works the posterior deltoid, hamstrings, quadriceps, and illiposoas.

The "Strawberry Stretch" is a great exercise to stretch the back, arms, and shoulders. It teaches balance and coordination. First, cross your right foot in front of your left. Bend down, touch your right toe, count to eight, and then straighten up. Make sure your back stays straight and does not arch. Cross your left foot in front of your right and repeat the stretch. The "Strawberry Stretch" works the lattisimus dorsi, teres major, the triceps, and the biceps. It also engages all three parts of the deltoid, including the anterior, posterior, and the lateral parts of the shoulder.

"Pumpkin Peeler" works the legs, back, arms, and shoulders. It also requires balance and dexterity. To perform this exercise, stand and lock your fingers together behind your back. Bend forward at the waist and keep your legs straight. With your fingers still locked, raise your arms over your head. Hold for a count of eight. This can also be done by bending at the knees. Teach the children the importance of flexibility by stretching the calf and leg muscles. The "Pumpkin Peeler" synergistically incorporates the lattismus dorsi, teres major, and deltoids, while it gently stretches the legs.

The" Sweet Pea Ski" benefits the muscles in the legs and challenges the child’s balance. One should begin with feet together. Slowly bend at the knees while swinging both your arms to the right as if you were using two ski poles on that side. Straighten up then repeat the bend and swing to the left. The "Sweet Pea" is great for the inner thigh, the hip adductor, or the gracilis. It is good for the hip flexors, the obliques, and the pectineus. This exercise offers the added benefit of working the whole gluteus, which includes the maximums, medius, and minimus.

"Pepper Pops" are great for both the beginner and the advanced exerciser. It works the legs, chest, and back. Do jumping jacks and clap above your head. For a "Pepper Pop Plus", add a right kick and a left kick with a clap under the knee while ensuring that the back stays straight. These additional movements work the erector spinae at the lower back. The muscles of the chest, namely the serratus anterior and the pectorals major, also receive a workout.

The "Broccoli Bounce" is good for the upper and lower body. Stand with hands clasped behind your heck and your elbows drawn back. Walk in place, raising your knees, bring your left elbow down to touch it. When you lift your left knee, bring your right elbow down to touch it. The "Broccoli" is good for both the hamstrings and the quadriceps. It works the smaller muscles as well as the important part of the legs, the calves, or the gastrocneumuis, soleus, tibialis anterior and the knee.

"Cauliflower Chippers" are a great way to end an aerobic session. It works the knees and the arms. Bounce up and down with your knees without taking your feet off the floor. At the same time, stretch your arms to each side and swing them in giant circles. You may also flex and extend the important yet neglected extensors and flexors of the wrists. You can change the movement of the chippers as well as cooling down by a stretch by elongating your shoulders, back, chest, and arms. The students should be encouraged to walk slowly in order to stretch their legs properly.

I am excited to one day put together an obstacle course!! As I was doing some research on line, this is a great way to help develop preschoolers large motor skills, and sounds fun too :) I am going to have to get creative to make one in my house, but crawling under things, jumping over things, and balancing are all things I want to include :)

One of our favorite ways to excercise is to DANCE :) One fun idea I had was to scroll through the music stations we have on our satelitte, and do different kind of dances that match up with the different kind of songs (fast, slow, ballet, crazy!!) Then we can talk about which muscles we were using for each different kind of dancing.

My goal for this week is simply to make my children more aware of the benefits of excercise, and to show them those benefits in a fun, easy way. Have a great week everyone!!:)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bodies Week

What a fun week we have planned! On my family blog I posted about a few of these activities 2 years ago, and it is so fun to look back at the pictures of my oldest, now the same age as my youngest daughter :)

One really fun activity I though of was to have the kids lay down on a big roll of butcher paper. Then they help me label all the different body parts, and afterwards they get to color them. Skylar LOVES this, and enjoys hanging her "Skylar" on the wall for the whole week :)

The other things they really enjoy is making a face out of fruit. We talk about each of the different parts of a face and they get to make their own. String cheese for hair, bananas for mouth, mandarin oranges for eyebrows, etc! You can use whatever you have on hand, and it makes for a healthy snack too!

One game my kids really love to play is Hullabaloo. It is so fun, and great for their ages. Well this week we will use the different mats, but instead of doing what the little game says, I will direct the kids, having them touch the pads with different parts of their bodies.

Last but not least, who doesn't love a little Hokey Pokey :) Have a great week everyone!! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aquarium Activity

This fun activity takes a little bit of prep work, but it made our trip to the local aquarium a lot of fun for the kids! All I did was make a scavenger hunt sheet for the kids with animals they would see at the aquarium. I also had a bucket of foam oceanlife stickers so I picked animals I had stickers of. Next to each word I put a picture of each animal/thing found in ocean and when the kids found it, they put the corresponding sticker next to it. My kids love all kind of games, so this made seeing some things that they had seen a million times before a little more exciting.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Choose the Right Family Home Evening

This last Sunday my oldest daughter was moved into the CTR 4 class. She has been SO excited to be a big girl and not be in Sunbeams anymore, so I thought it was a great opportunity to learn more about what CTR means.

I got some great ideas on and tweaked them a little to fit out needs. I started off by reading a story from the March 1999 issue of the friend. Here is the direct link:"

It talks about a big sister choosing the right and setting a good example for her little brother, perfect for my daughter! After we talked about how important it was to set a good example we sang Do As I'm Doing and let everyone take turns picking the actions. Then I had a list of examples of choosing the right, and not choosing the right (ie. helping mom clean up, making fun of someone at church, yelling in the chapel, and folding your arms during the prayer.) I had printed out a big yellow smiley face and a big red frowny face. I taped these up on the wall and everytime I read an example the kids would run and touch the smiley face if it was choosing the right, or the frowny face if it wasn't. It was a great way to get the wiggles out after reading a story. All in all a pretty good little family home evening! :)

Ocean Life Week!

Wow, its been a long time since we had a theme for the week! :) But its a new year, and a new chance to be more consistent and do more fun, educational activities with the kids! I love this week because it always includes a trip to the local aquarium. One of our favorite things to do is a craft we do the morning before we go to the aquarium. We have a big bucket of oceanlife foam stickers. On a blue piece of paper the girls put on all the different stickers. Then we take it with us to the aquarium. Skylar calls it her "map" and we go around and try to find everything on it! Simple, easy, and SO fun :)

We will also be making jelly fish to hang up around the girls room for the week. You just let the kids fingerpaint paper plates and then attach different colored crepe paper for streamers.

Our letter of the week is the letter B so I think we will take one day and learn all about the fasciniting world of Blowfish :) Along with printing out tracing papers for the letter B I like to have a word we talk about to reinforce the sound.

As always, the food must go along with the theme :) One day we will be having hot dogs that look like an octopus. If you have never done this all you do is cut slits in the bottom and when you cook the hot dog the ends curl up to look like tentacles. My girls LOVE it :) My friend also gave me the great idea of having tomato soup for lunch and putting goldfish crackers in. Then you let the kids "go fishing"

I hope you all have a great week. One of my years goals is to embrace this precious time I have with my children and not let it go to waste. Doing simple little activities like these are one way I am hoping to get closer to that goal!!