Monday, August 27, 2012

Thank you, Miss Sam

September Team Member of the Month: Miss Sam

Miss Sam has been a ray of sunshine for Bubbles Academy since she began in early 2011. She will be bringing her glowing energy and animation as a lead teacher in both Bubble Bees and Bubble Step during our First Fall Session.

We are delighted to soon kick off September by recognizing Sam as our Team Member of the Month. We sat her down for a Q&A!

What was one of your favorite pastimes as a child?
I was a competitive dancer for many years. Tap was my specialty! My first trip to Disney World was for a national competition (where my dance company placed gold and we even snuck in a bit of ride time).

The academic theme in Bubble Bees during First Fall session is Occupations. What did you want to be when you were a child?
I was very inclined to become Miss America and definitely a Rockette — they lowered the height requirement to 5’7”, which I had reached by the 5th grade!

What do you enjoy about teaching at Bubbles Academy?
It is a daily joy to receive hugs from the most precious group of people — young children! I get to lead both Jedi Knight and Rock Star training at work!

I greatly value my time spent in the Bubble Step & Bees classrooms. Helping these little ones to reach a new level of confidence is so rewarding! Both students and their caregivers are so proud when no grown up is needed in the classroom. It is wonderfully exciting to play an active role in a student’s progress towards independence.

What is your favorite class activity?
Get messy (but of course clean up together after)!

What do you take pleasure in outside of the Academy?
My dog Chewbacca and I love to take adventures outside together, and as an actress, I get a kick out of watching reality television in my spare time!

What is something you are truly passionate about?
I strive to be an activist for Crohn’s Disease research and awareness. It’s a condition that affects me daily, but it has also taught me the value of positivity and persistence.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dino Bees!

This week was Dinosaur Week! We got in the spirit by dressing up with dinosaur hats and tails. Our first book of the week was Ten Terrible Dinosaurs. We tested out our dino skills by marching, roaring and eating just like dinosaurs do! I'd say our Bees are some pretty convincing prehistoric critters! At Art time, we made some absolutely beautiful pictures using dinosaur stencils and koosh balls.

The second book of the week was How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? We of course, had more fun playing with dinosaurs and coloring together during Open Choice. We discussed nice manners, and the importance of trying new foods and eating healthy. During Art, we talked even more about healthy choices as we made paper salads with salad dressing glue! I was very impressed with how well our Bees knew the names of all of the fruits and vegetables.

During snack, we continued to build on our confidence and responsibility by passing out place mats and cups all by ourselves! Tune in next week for more updates on our progress as we go on lots of Animal Adventures!

My Bubble Best,

Miss Sam

Stepping Up the Silly!

In Bubble Step, we aim to get our students school ready by cultivating an appreciation for fun and a love of learning. Sometimes when you feel nervous or anxious in the classroom, it helps to just get silly!  We sang goofy songs in circle time, banged on the drums with our toes, and this week, we became painters!

Who wouldn't love school when you get to dip a fire truck in finger paint? We also experimented with foam paint — a very soft sensory experience! I wouldn’t be Miss Becca if I didn't love paint up to my elbows!

We are certainly taking some big steps towards becoming confident, independent and joy-filled preschoolers.

My Bubble Best,

Miss Becca

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Step in Play-Doh & Bee a Potato!

Playing with Play-Doh!
I try to take pictures in every Bubble Step class. Most of the time I only get a chance to capture what our students play with during Open Choice. Last week it was Play-Doh! We had such a good time modeling, rolling and cutting. I love Play-Doh because it not only works those ever developing fine motor skills, but you can also use it to encourage sharing and problem solving! Check out some of our wonderful rollers and shapers!

Fun with Mr. Potato Head
This week in Bubble Bees we're talking all about feelings. What better way to express yourself than by changing your face? Miss Sam found a Mr. Potato Head family hidden in our giant Bubble Toy closet!  We had a great time making silly faces together! Mr. Potato Head is a great tool for teaching body part recognition and building fine motor skills. Check out our silly creations!  - Miss Becca

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bubble Step in the Clouds!

Last week in Bubble Step class, we made cloud dough! This was a great way to foster independence and teamwork through measuring, mixing and getting messy together. First we took turns feeling the flour, and then measuring and pouring into a cup.

We then practiced measuring out one cup of Baby Oil and pouring it in the flour. The best part came next — using our hands to mix it all together! Of course, it isn't a Bubbles’ art project without a little sparkle, so we each took turns shaking in different colors of glitter!

The students had a blast feeling the different textures, making castles and smashing the cloud dough. This easy and cost conscious project provides hours of fun. Give it a try at home!

We found the cloud dough recipe from The Imagination Tree blog. Search their site for even more cool sensory bins and projects!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bubble Bees talk feelings!

Today, the book of the day was When Sophie Gets Angry... Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. This week we are reading books that talk about feelings. Bang's book was a perfect way for our students to learn about what to do when they get angry just like Sophie. Some of the student's ideas included "getting a Band-Aid!” or "talking to our friend about what happened", "sharing our toys" and "dancing and jumping up and down!"

Since Sophie climbed a tree to help herself calm down after she got angry, we made a beautiful tissue paper tree art project. Here at Bubbles Academy, we often find that doing an art project for our Moms or Dads or Uncle Steves is a great way for students to calm down and feel more confident about doing class all on their own. These Bubble Bees are not only brilliant artists, but they are also very in touch with their feelings! 

A beautiful blog post by Inner Child Fun (a great blog for crafts, games and play) inspired the tissue paper tree project.      

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 2 & 3: Mex Fusion & Tea Party!

Week 2

Today our little chefs had a taste of Mex Fusion!  We started class by shredding grilled chicken for our tacos. We placed our chicken, beans and fresco cheese on top of a corn tortilla and carefully placed them in the oven to get a nice warm shell. Next, it was time to make our chips. Buddies took funny mustache cookie cutters and fun letter shapes to create some silly chips. We placed those in the oven to get them nice and crispy.

The last thing on our menu was to whip up some yummy guacamole. Our buddies pealed their own avocado, mashed it up and added some onion, tomato, a hint of lime, and a dash of salt to create some mouthwatering dip. We had so much fun and created a wonderful meal to share together at the table!

Week 3

We had a very fancy tea party today in Tastebuddies. We started our morning by shredding up some carrots for our tasty veggie wrap. Buddies then set the carrots aside and spread on a yummy amount of cream cheese onto a wheat a wrap. Next, we peeled a beautiful roasted red pepper.  We then carefully place carrots, spinach, and roasted red pepper into the wrap and set them aside for later.

Next, we mixed together a refreshing strawberry lemonade iced tea. We first placed frozen strawberries into our glasses to cool off our tea. Chef Marc and Chef Meg then poured a combination of strawberry lemonade and iced tea into our glasses to create our fancy drink. Lastly, we all received a butter cookie, whipped frosting, sprinkles, and chopped strawberries to make a beautiful, delectable dessert. We had a blast learning new cooking skills together and enjoyed a “berry” tasty meal.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 1: Ballpark Theme

Our little chefs stepped up to the plate and made a variety of Ballpark foods this week in Taste Buddies!

The first thing we made this week was Chili Dogs. We started by painting our hot dog buns with mustard, then placing our Turkey Dogs inside the bun. The buddies then dumped onions, cheese, and chili on top of the dogs and placed them in the oven to get a toasty chili dog.

Next, we made a tasty side of fruit nachos. Chef Marc crisped some wheat tortillas and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top to get a sweet chip base for the nachos. Our buddies added vanilla pudding on top of the chips and sprinkled some delicious fruit such as blueberries, strawberries and kiwis to make a beautiful plate of fruit nachos.

We topped off class by making a Funfetti Puppy Chow. Buddies shook up bags of rice chex cereal, white chocolate, yellow cake mix and stunning sprinkles to make a delectable dessert for our day at the ballpark. 

These cooking experiments can be easily conquered in your home kitchen! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Week FIVE: Red, White, and Blue Treats- Red, White, and Blue Spritzer, Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad, and Pigs in a Blanket

This week we made treats that made us think of the Fourth of July! We worked on rolling, chopping, shaking, and sugar coating glasses! As a reminder to registered families: there is no class Wednesday, July 4th. Our last class will be held Wednesday, July 11. See you in two weeks!


  • Mint 
  • 1 ounce lime juice 
  • 1 ounce agave nectar 
  • Colored sugars 
  • Seltzer water 
  • Frozen strawberries and blueberries 
  1. Rim glasses with colored sugar.
  2. Tear mint and muddle at bottom of glass.
  3. Squeeze lime into glass.
  4. Pour agave nectar into glass. 
  5. Pour seltzer water into glass. 
  6. Use frozen strawberries and blueberries as ice cubes.  Enjoy!

inspired by
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil $ 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 5 cups cubed PURPLE potatos (about 2 pounds) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup chopped peeled cucumber 
  • 3/4 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes 
  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper 
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions 
  • 1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained 
  1. To prepare dressing, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. 
  2. To prepare salad, place potato and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. 
  3. Cover with water to 2 inches above potato; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until tender; drain.
  4. Add potato to dressing in bowl, tossing gently to coat; let stand 15 minutes. 
  5. Stir in cucumber and remaining ingredients; toss well. Cover and chill.

inspired by

  • 1 8-ounce package Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls, regular or reduced fat 
  • 4 smoked sausages, any flavor 
  • Egg wash or melted butter/water mixture 
  • Mustard or bbq sauce 
  • Poppyseeds
  • Maldon salt 
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. Open the crescent rolls and separate them down the lines into the triangles. 
  3. Cut the sausages in half so you have 8 pieces. 
  4. Start with the tall side of the triangle. Roll the sausage in the crescent dough, tucking the bottom point up when you start to roll. You should finish with the point. 
My Dad said they looked like they were wrapped up in a sleeping bag -- hence the name he gave them "Hogs in a Sleeping Bag" since it was the big smoked sausage!

     5.  Brush with egg wash or melted butter mixture. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or maldon salt.
     6.  Bake them on a cookie sheet at 375 for 11-13 minutes, or until the crescnet rolls are golden.
     7.  You can serve them with spicy mustard, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Week FOUR: Sneaky Snack Foods! Zucchini Cookies, Kale Chips, Spinach Smoothies

This week the theme was a Sneaky Snack Foods!  We made snack foods that incorporated some healthy veggies!  We worked on mixing, shredding, tearing, and sprinkling.  We also got to taste some yummy new veggies like zucchini and kale, as well as some sneaky spinach.

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Beat together the egg, oil and both sugars until well blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add the oatmeal and zucchini and mix well.
  3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, placing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen.


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With a knife or kitchen shears, carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite-size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. 
  3. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt.
  4. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt (about 10 to 15 minutes).

  • 2 cups spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup ice*
  1. Place the spinach in the freezer until frozen, at least one hour.
  2. Combine the spinach, strawberries, banana, honey and ice in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately. (Makes 4 servings) 
  3. *Helpful hint: if you don't want the smoothie to look green and you are using frozen ingredients, the ice is not needed. In this case you will need to add a little water or juice.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meet our School Prep Camp Teachers

Bubble Academy's School Prep Camp is designed to ready your child for school with engaging activities & through a nurturing environment filled with friends and experienced teachers. Bubble Step: Separation Boot Camp will be led by Miss Becca and assisted by Miss Sam. Bubble Bees: School Camp will be led by Miss Sam and assisted by Miss Becca.

Miss Becca

Becca classifies her self as a dreamer. When she moved to Chicago in 2010, she dared to dream that she would find a rewarding career working with children. Bubbles Academy was the first place she applied!

With a degree in theatre from Western Kentucky University, Becca brought stories to life on stage and performances to schools across Kentucky as a teaching artist with Lexington Children’s Theatre. As the Program Director at Bubbles Academy, Becca leads the development and teaching of our curriculum — from art projects, to games to imagination activities and more in order to spark our students’ creativity and nurture their growth.

Becca has a trusty stead — her yellow bicycle named Carmen Banana Bike! You can trust her to make masterful cardboard boats, cartwheel on demand and always accept an invitation to play!

Miss Sam

Originally from Novi, Michigan, Sam came to Chicago to earn her bachelor of fine arts in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She discovered a passion for youth theatre and has been privileged to work with the Tony Award winning Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company, The Chicago Children’s Theatre Company, Emerald City Theatre Company and Theatre-Hikes. Sam’s most cherished theatrical experience was The Chicago Children’s Theatre Company’s installation for children with autism and their families; The Red Kite Project.

Sam comes from a long line of teachers, and she is thrilled to continue the tradition at Bubbles Academy. She enthusiastically leads both our enrichment and education series classes as a charismatic guide for first-time preschoolers, an adventurous captain for imagination students and an extraordinaire in crafty projects for Art + Music classes.

Sam’s creative spirit never shuts off. She is an avid reader, writer, performer and #1 playmate of her pet chihuahua — Chewbacca.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thank you, Miss Lauren!

June Team Member of the Month: Miss Lauren

A warm and angelic singing voice can be heard at Bubbles Academy. Its origin is that of the superbly dedicated and talented Miss Lauren.

The Little Mermaid is what sparked Lauren’s initial love for music and desire to sing. Her performance history ranges from playing the role of Grizabella in Cats in the 8th grade to training in opera while studying at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

Lauren began her career as an elementary school music teacher in Kansas and as a peace educator at the Children’s Peace Pavilion in Missouri. She returned to hometown Chicago and discovered a niche with Bubbles Academy. As an instructor for Music, Creative Movement and Yoga, Lauren feels privileged to interact with so many families and to be a part of their children’s growth and development from age 0 and up. She possesses the sparkling ability to bring forth children’s personalities through her upbeat silliness and nurturing spirit! We are esteemed she also shares her joyful qualities and passion for youth with the families within our Bubbles Academy classes at the Gorton Center in Lake Forest.

Lauren is an active songwriter and delights crowds throughout Chicago, including those smiling younger audiences at neighborhood festivals and at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods. Whether portraying a princess, a fairy or a rock star at one our themed Birthday parties, her genuine charm adds true flare and dimension to each party experience.

Lauren ventured to the Bahamas to receive her yoga teacher’s certification at the Sivananda Ashram. She is a member of the Yoga Alliance, and she hopes to travel to India one day to pursue another yoga immersion. We consider her a rising sun upon the Academy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thank you, Miss Ashley

May Team Member of the Month: Miss Ashley

Ashley, an Ann Arbor native, traveled to Chicago a few years ago to pursue a degree in art history and fine arts from DePaul University. She found a home at Bubbles Academy, and her steadfast work ethic and creative vision led her to progress from Event Assistant to Event Coordinator to Events Manger. Ashley directs the organization and execution of birthday parties and special events at Bubbles Academy. Her many years of experience as a nanny has provided her with the expertise to manage challenges and spark children’s interests. Ashley’s Goddaughter Eva, one of the children she previously was a nanny for, plays audience to Ashley’s secret talent — animal voices!

Ashley can often be found in the Bubbles Academy kitchen preparing “experiments” for a spy party or preparing the fish mask materials for the Under the Sea party! Her delight in details has lifted our annual Bubbleween and Bubble Egg Hunt events to a magical level of entertainment. Most importantly, Ashley has developed a supportive team dynamic with our event staff, and she strives to exceed the expectations of our families with each and every event.

Before and after the Academy, Ashley enjoys running (a participant in the 2011 Chicago Marathon), reading and exploring new restaurants with her fiancé Matt (a helpful and voluntary Bubbles Academy decorator).