Quick Holiday Centers

A while ago I shared how I use placemats to make centers for my little friends {That post is HERE}. Today I am going to show you a slight variation to that...just in time for December!

Basically we are swapping placemats for plates.... and Halloween for Christmas.

The idea is to just keep you thinking how many possibilities there are to make personalized centers quickly for your class.

These centers I use for early finishers OR to reinforce a skill my class is struggling on.  These may not be a main "job" for the kids, but instead are disguised as fun, mainly because I don't require them to record anything with my placemat or plate centers.

All you need to create your own are clothespins, a Sharpie and some holiday item... in this case a Christmas tree plate from the 99 Cent Store:
As you can see above, I wrote numbers around the edge of the plate with the Sharpie. The students are to match the correct number of dots to the numeral.

When they are done I ask them to share with a friend. Then leave it ready for the next player like this:

Sometimes I will use the same plate for two centers....or rather, for two different skills.

The numbers are the same, but I swap out the clothespins. This group is working on adding one to a number.

To keep things straight I will tag the back of the clothespins like this:
Just another way I have found to use washi tape. I just stick a little piece on the back of each clip. This helps me if I only want to take one version of the game out. But sometimes I will have both versions out and I tell the kids you can do the red one or whatever the case may be....although sometimes that can be tricky.

The point is you can adapt and change to meet the individual needs of your group.

If I am shopping and see a themed placemat or plate available I will usually get it even if I don't have a plan for it at that moment... that way, it will be waiting for me when I need a quick center.... and yes, clothespins are Sharpies are always in my room too.

I hope this is an easy idea you can use!

An Old Favorite: The Thanksgiving Placemat

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

So I'm here today to share my take on an old old favorite craft for this time of year: the woven Thanksgiving placemat.

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Placemat Craft Crayons and Whimsy
This is great for pre-school, kindergarten, first grade or second grade. The kids need to be using their hands to weave and figuring out the patterns of weaving and build on that spacial awareness.

Another reason I love this activity is because some of your little ones who are last to finish a writing lesson may find that they are first to get their mat done...and boy, is that a fun feeling for them!

To prep this I fold orange- or whatever color you like- 12x18 inch construction paper in half. Then I use a pencil and ruler to draw these lines:

The lines are all 2 inches apart and the top line is 2 inches from the edge of the paper.
It is important the straight line across is on the open end of the fold. The bottom is the folded side. In other words- like this:
But leave it folded.... no unfolding... even though some of the kids want to do that! They need to cut on the straight lines AND then unfold it to start weaving....

The strips they weave with are 2 inches as well. They will measure 2x12 inches.

And just a tip... I wouldn't try this whole group with little ones. It is hard and they need a bit of help.

Here is how they look at our kindergarten feast:
Thanksgiving kindergarten feast placemats Crayons and Whimsy

I purposely have chosen to have the kiddos write their names on the back of the mats and have not left a name line on the title cards below. However if you would like their name on there I suggest using the generic one that doesn't have the year listed and will give you more room for a name.

Thanksgiving Placemat Craft Title Page Freebie Crayons and Whimsy

And here is another fun Thanksgiving freebie from my TpT store.... and HERE is a blog post telling you more about it, too!

Night Before Thanksgiving Crayons and Whimsy Freebie

And these are also fun in November!

Thankful Cornucopia Kindergarten Thanksgiving Craft Crayons and Whimsy

Thanksgiving Math Activity Crayons And Whimsy

Pattern Block Math Fall Edition Crayons and Whimsy

And one more Freebie:
Pattern Block Teepee Freebie Crayons And Whimsy


Halloween Costume Ideas for Teachers

Yep... it's time for a review of some Halloween Costumes from my school and our creative staff. This is my 3rd year in a row doing a post like this....
A. because I am proud of my school and our Halloween spirit
B. because I want to give you some ideas for EASY costumes that are great for teachers.

You can see the 2014 review here and the 2013 is right here.

But let's move on to  this year...and I also want to say that I work with some creative people, but also some people who are resourceful....so it is possible a few of these ideas are from Pinterest or another blog and I am not able to appropriately credit them because I just don't know.

My kinder team has two very preggo mamas... one of which is me... so we tried to incorporate that into our gig this year. Meet the "K" Basketball team:
Basketball Adult Easy Halloween Costume Idea Crayons and Whimsy Pregnant Costume

The first grade team did a simple Sesame Street theme... but look, these are too much fun:
Sesame Street Adult Easy Halloween Costume Idea Crayons and Whimsy

Second  grade went more traditional with Goldilocks and the Three Bears:

And the most classic costume this year was third grade's ghosts:

Fourth grade made me laugh with the mouth chasing the M&Ms:

Fifth grade won the award- literally, they did win... for best team costume for Operation.... I never would have thought about dressing up as a board game. Love this idea:
Operation Costume Idea Teacher Costumes Crayons and Whimsy
And how about an action shot of all of them showing off this creative team Halloween costume to the whole school at our parade:
Operation Costume Idea Teacher Costumes School dress up ideas
And funny enough while creating this post I found an old picture of my kinder team...I think this is 2011 when we did The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I am the strawberry and if you are wondering.... yes, we are almost all wearing colored tablecloths..... that means our costumes were less than $5. The stems are brown butcher paper twisted up and glued on 99 cent headband.
Hungry Caterpillar easy to make Halloween Costume Kindergarten Teacher

And just for fun I will share what my hubby and I did for Halloween this year. So at about 3:00pm on Halloween....we actually decided to talk about what we should be.... oh, the party starts at 6? We better get on it.  That is so us....for better or worse.

The debate was...do we make a "pregnant Halloween costume" or just a regular one.....after a quick Google search we decided on the "pregnant skeleton costume"- I can't credit just one source, there are countless tutorials and awesome looking ideas for this... so even though it isn't the most novel idea, we liked it.... and decided to try the QUICK one hour version!!!

We ran out and bought some cheap black shirts and sweats, white fabric paint and blue felt.

And then we got back and my hubby was doing this:
Halloween Pregnant Skeleton Costume

And and hour later we had this:
Halloween Pregnant Skeleton Costume
{Sidenote: Don't you love our friend's chalk paint covered surfboard for message writing?!}

And one more with a close up of the "baby"
Halloween Pregnant Skeleton Costume
And that is all my friends.... hope you got a few useful Halloween costume ideas for school, home or wherever you may need to be dressed up!