B is for Bugs {Free Printable}

Our life has been full of creepy, crawly bugs lately.

We’ve watched caterpillars grow and change into butterflies. We’ve stopped to watch a parade of ants and then watched them problem-solve when the sidewalk chalk paint interrupted their procession…And don’t even get me started about the war the Mr. has been waging with the wasps around Happy Brown House!

We’ve made Stained Glass Butterfly Art and Spider Web Snacks.

And just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore bugs….we did some more.

Bug Fingerprint ArtTo be honest, I’m so glad we did. I love that I have his fingerprint drawings from his last night as a four-year-old…forever.

B is for Bugs Fingerprint Art Printable

Since we’re celebrating a birthday around here, I thought I’d share a little present with you!

Free Download: Bb is for Bugs Fingerprint Art Printable


This printable is FREE of charge and you are welcome to download it for you personal and/or classroom use only. However, free or purchased printables are NOT to be reproduced, hosted, sold, or stored on any other website or electronic retrieval system (such as Scribd or Google docs). My printables are copyright protected and I appreciate your help in keeping them that way. :)

Mommy & Me: Shape Building

I’ve got a post over at Totally Tots today sharing a fun and easy shape building activity. It’s a super simple one to make…like 2 seconds. Easy-peasy!

Jonah and I took some time while Asher was hanging with Daddy to build some shapes. (You can see the tutorial for setting up this activity in my Totally Tots post.)

I love watching him think.

This activity provided him plenty of opportunity for problem solving. It also provided him the chance to make choices for how to do something. There was an end goal, but he had to decide how to make it happen. While I provided initial support, I backed off rather quickly and let him decide how to make his shapes.

Once we made some of the basic shapes, I showed Jonah how to make some 3D shapes. He thought this was a fantastic idea and had fun exploring after the “formal” activity time was over.

We have added this activity to our “Busy Bags” set. It is a self-directed activity that doesn’t require my help and he can explore at his leisure. It is fantastic for those times when I’m nursing and I need Jonah to chill out a little so he won’t distract Asher.


Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat (Free Printable)

One of my favorite tools I used in my Kindergarten classroom were plastic Letter Tiles. Beginning readers love to manipulate letters and practice phonics  with hands-on activities. Now that Jonah is old enough, they are one of his favorite things to work with, too. I recently made a few Letter Tile Spelling Mats to go along with this tool and help Jonah spell some things.

Construction Sensory Bin with Free Printable Letter Tile Spelling Mats

We’ve been studying Big Machines at the Construction Site, so I made a Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat for him and paired it with the Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin. I placed the letters inside the rice and he used his construction toys (bulldozers, dump trucks, etc.) to find the letters. When he found the letters, he matched them to the letters on the Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat. He loved it!

And because I love my faithful readers, I made a Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat Free Printable to go with the Big Machines Theme that we’ve been doing at our house and over at Totally Tots. I thought I’d share it with you. :)

Free Printable Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat by www.happybrownhouse.com

Click here to download the Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat

Please, if you’d like to share, link back to this blog post. Do NOT link directly to the PDF file. You are free to print, but remember this PDF is for personal or non-profit use only. Do not sell or host this file anywhere else.

Mommy & Me: Pretty Paper Factory

We love Eric Carle books. Alot. They are the books that we return to over and over and over again.

One of the things that make Eric Carle books so unique are the way he makes his illustrations. They are made from paper that he has painted and added texture to himself. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) Once he paints his tissue paper, he uses it to create collages. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) I think his process is fascinating.

Or, maybe I’m drawn to his creation process because it is attainable for even the youngest of artists…

Jonah and I had some fun during the “Plague of 2012″. I mean, there are only so many movies a kid can watch when he is sick and it’s raining outside, right?!?! As we were painting with watercolors, I took a white crayon and made a pattern on some paper when he wasn’t looking. When he painted over the white crayon, he thought it was magic.

“Mommy, look! How did it do that?!?!?!”

I explained how, this time showing him the process. He painted over it again just as bright-eyed as before.

“Mommy, can we make more?”

And so it began…The Pretty Paper Factory.

The only problem with the Pretty Paper Factory is that eventually, papers are drying on every flat surface. And then, once they are dry, I have a stack of treasures that Jonah won’t part with.

My solution: The Collage Box

Yes, I really cut up his watercolor pages into 4 smaller rectangles. I asked permission first.

To read about the Collage Box, you’ll have to visit Totally Tots. I’m sharing about The Collage Box over there today!

Want some other Pretty Paper Factory ideas? I’ll be back with more! Subscribe so you don’t miss them!

Leaf Family Portrait {and commentary from Jonah}

We’ve been having a blast at the Happy Brown House with some of our favorite Fall/Leaf books, specifically Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. It’s lead to quite a few activities–most of which you can read about over at Totally Tots today!

But because I love you, dear readers, and feel like you might need a laugh just as much as I do, I will share with this gem of a picture and the “behind-the-scenes” commentary from Jonah….

Leaf Family

We’ll call this masterpiece “Leaf Family”…if you will. Jonah’s words are in bold. Mommy’s words are in fancy-shmancy brackets {’cause they’re pretty and all the bloggers use them}.  You’ll have to excuse my commentary, it’s 4:00 AM when I’m writing this, and after a sleepless night, I’m feeling a tad “testy”. I’ve finally given up on sleep since Asher will be up to eat again soon.

Leaf Mommy (far left) has big hair. {This picture was made while I was still in my “morning-glory-still-drinking-my-first-cup-of-coffee” stage and yes, I had big hair. Fresh from the bed and sticking up all over big hair. Apparently, this is how it translates on paper.}

Leaf Jonah (second from the left) has a tiny head. {I’m not sure what this was about. I thought it was supposed to be Asher, but he informed me that wasn’t the case. Maybe he’s been to see the head-shrinking tribe? That would account for the manners lost since the baby came.}

Leaf Daddy (third from the left) has a pipe. It’s one of those things that you put in your mouth and blow and smoke comes out. {Say what?!? Not only has he never seen a pipe or someone smoking one, but where in the world did this come from? Real Daddy doesn’t smoke. This led to a “smoking is bad” conversation. We’ll revisit it in the future.}

Leaf Asher (far right) has blue hair. {At this point,  that’s the least of my worries!}

By the way, I got all of this conversation on video. Classic. If I wasn’t technology-challenged when it came to my video camera, I would share it. Wonder if Leaf Mommy knows how to work a video camera?

Update: You can see the Leaf Family Video and all of Jonah’s personal commentary. Apparently, we should blame it on Frosty.

Mommy & Me: “My” Sight Word Book (Printable)

We’ve entered the world of “Sight Words” around here!

I’ve recently taken notice of some readiness for sight words with Jonah and decided to give it a try. I wasn’t very scientific in choosing a word to start with, it sort of randomly happened one day as we were preparing dinner. Jonah was looking at a book called “My Cats” (a repetitive High-Frequency Reader from Scholastic that I had just found at the local discount bookstore Clearance Sale). He wanted desperately to read it on his own.

I grabbed a piece of paper and a crayon and made a quick “rebus” style poster for him. (I know, I know…you’re impressed with my 2-second drawing. Aren’t you? Hey, it worked!)

"My" rebus poster

We practiced a few times before dinner, but he didn’t seem to show tons of interest. I hung it on the fridge at eye-level and later heard him practicing reading it. Success! It’s still on our fridge and now we read it every time we pass it. He’s confident now and has started going on a “word hunt” in other books.

While “my” is a common word in books, I wanted to extend the learning. There are lots of “sight word” books online to print, but I wanted to start with something more personal that he would be interested in. So, I whipped up a quick book in Microsoft Word, printed it out, and grabbed my favorite illustrator.

Here’s a glimpse of our book….

my name (sight word book)(Do you see the progress on writing his name?!?! So proud of that orange crayon writing!)

my hands (sight word book)

my feet (sight word book)

my house (sight word book)(Jonah started with the door and Mommy helped with the house outline)

my toy (sight word book)(Can you tell we’re STILL obsessed with cars around here?)

my friend (sight word book)(Jonah added even more friends after I took a picture of this. )

After we were done assembling the book, we practiced reading it a few times and finding the word “my” throughout the pages. I showed Jonah how to use a highlighter to highlight the word “my” and he eagerly found them again.

Since I made the book, the least I can do is share…

Click to Download the “My” Sight Word Book Printable for FREE

Treasures For You…

Since I’ve been posting about Jonah’s Pirate Birthday Party, it’s only natural that I share a few hidden treasures with you! Trust me, we’ll be back to the the last of the Pirate Party details soon…

Treasure #1:  I posted over at The MOB Society about the Hidden Treasure we’ve found over the past 10 months. I’d love it if you came over to visit and support me over there! And no, it has nothing to do with the pirates!
Mothers of Boys

Treasure #2:  I’ve got another blog post up at Totally Tots! This time I posted about “The Funny Font Book” and how to address some of those “funny letters” that confuse kids when they come across a different font than they are used to. Also, it includes a FREE download for readers!

totally tots

Treasure #3:  The other site I write for, Pennies & Blessings, is hosting a giveaway bash all week! There are some great prizes, including one from my shop on Saturday (8-13-11). Be sure to head over there each day to enter!

Pennies and Blessings