I'm a little behind, but have been wanting to share what we did for Mother's Day this year! I think the kids really had a lot of fun with it, and so did I! Together as a group, we mixed up our own bath salts to give to mom...
in both lavender and chocolate scents! I got the "recipe" here. Whether making them or using them, bath salts are a great sensory activity for kids! A great texture, and so many scent possibilities!
We also made our own soaps. The kids loaded a bowl full of glycerin soap bars, and I melted them down in the microwave. Then they added lavender scent and the colors of their choice. After it had cooled and set, the really fun part started! The kids used cookie cutters, a wood block, and a hammer to pound out flower and leaf shaped soaps!
I hope the moms enjoy their gifts as much as we enjoyed the process of making them! :)
In case anyone has noticed the lack of posts here lately, here are the beautiful tiny little toes that have been keeping me on mine! :) Our group has been enjoying and adjusting to having two infants and we are very busy! Hopefully we will find our new rhythm and I will get back to sharing our fun with all of you soon!
I have discovered something. Maybe discovered is not the right word, since I am far from the first to realize this, but it took me a while. In most cases (there are exceptions, of course) the LESS prep work I do, the MORE the kids get out of our experience. This realization has completely changed the way I do things, and the results we get because it is pretty much the opposite of how I used to run my program.
Take today for example. Thanks to our recent tree-damaging ice storms, my dad brought us some great new tree rounds to play with! They needed a quick sanding, so instead of prepping them the night before, I set out the box of un-sanded tree rounds and some small squares of sand paper. Each of them gave it a try, and a couple of them sanded off and on for the rest of the day! Call it child labor if you want, but the kids love to be involved in the process! ;) Sometimes they even enjoy the preparation more than the actual final "activity" I have in mind.
Not only do the kids enjoy it, but it also gives them a deeper understanding of whatever process we are involved with, which only broadens their learning. Now, I am looking forward to seeing what they might build with the blocks tomorrow!
Today is APRIL 18th. And this is what it looks like outside our windows.
Yes, snow is wonderful. Yes, we love to play in it. But, yes, we have had enough. The kids are so ready for warmer weather that we have had the vast majority of our imaginative free play consumed by thoughts of swimming! So, today we had a "Pool Party" day inside. I turned up the heat a couple of degrees and the kids all spent the morning in their swimsuits! We pretend- sunbathed (don't worry, we even got out some sunscreen first ;) )...
...pretended to swim a little...
...had lots of beach ball fun...
...and even planned, predicted, and observed sinking vs. floating while we played in the water!
We also read a book that was perfect for the occasion!
It has been a day full of fun and imagination! :)
Color, color, color! The two weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day were filled with all the colors of the rainbow around here. We did lots of painting and color mixing (I provided only the primary colors and we discovered what happens when they mix together!) to make a giant rainbow, in hopes that it might bring a leprechaun to hide his gold here!
And it worked! :) We had a mischievous leprechaun stop by and turn our milk green, and he even turned the toilet water green! He also left us some fun surprises: a "pot of rainbow" and some green glow bracelets! He left a note, so we learned that his name is Sneaky O'Malley!
We had lots of other color fun too, like our baking soda and vinegar play, with red jell-o powder added in. An idea that came from Footsteps In Growing Daycare that we had a lot of fun with. When the kids were all done playing with the bubbling reaction, we used the resulting mush to paint with. It left an interesting textured product that smelled wonderful! :)
We also had fun with flubber, and a new-to-us sensory material: Rainbow dough. We have made cloud dough before -- it consists of flour and baby oil. Since the only moisture comes from the oil, when we added colors one at a time, they didn't mix together but stayed separate as we played to become rainbow dough! It is shown here after we had only added green, but Play Counts has some fun pictures of the dough with all colors added.
We had fun with rainbow strips of paper available in the art area all week,
...and our new rainbow sensory bottles! We also learned a couple of new songs that you may have been hearing at home! If not, ask the kids to sing you the Rainbow song, or the Leprechaun song that they learned!
We even got to EAT a rainbow with these colorful rainbow fruit kabobs and explore new and fun green foods, like avocado.
We worked together to build a tape rainbow and then used it as the base for our rainbow color scavenger hunt! Some of the kids are really getting good at ripping tape off the rolls....such HARD work for little fingers! But they are very motivated to learn how, so they work, work, work at it!
We had so much fun learning and playing with colors!
In anticipation of St. Patrick's Day, we have begun talking about leprechauns and rainbows and have decided to try to gather as much rainbow color as we can over the next two weeks so that maybe a leprechaun will come here to hide or find his gold! :) We have started with the color red, so today the kids really wanted to make RED flubber (they like to call it "slime"). We added in some pieces of red yarn and some cups and spoons and the kids spent the better part of the morning building a wide variety of "leprechaun traps" as they told stories of what they would like to do if they ever meet a leprechaun. :)
We had so much fun last week celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday! For the past couple of years, I think it has been the favorite "holiday" around here! This year I brought out some old favorites (like painting with our feet, and then reading the Foot Book) as well as some new activities, art projects, and fun foods. The kids had fun using tissue paper scraps to fill in their Red fish & Blue fish, and loved dipping cotton balls into colored water to make colorful Truffula tree-tops!
In addition to the fun art projects, we enjoyed some great Dr. Seuss themed games and activities, too. The kids did some impressive building and patterning with our new Cat In the Hat foam stacking blocks, sharpened their fine-motor skills with some Tuffula tree beading, and even got to Hop on Pop!
Of course we can't celebrate Dr. Seuss without having some Green Eggs & Ham, but we also had fun with lots of other Dr. Seuss themed meals and snacks. One of their favorites was the fish cracker graphing along with some Pink Ink Drink (also from One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish). We had colorful Lorax pasta with broccoli and asparagus "trees" and a blue alfredo river, played with Brown Bar-ba-loot bears and built our own Truffula trees (from the Lorax) using pretzel sticks and mini colored marshmallows, and at the suggestion of one of the kids, we even had a birthday cake for Dr. Seuss!
We enjoyed celebrating Dr. Seuss once again and are now looking forward to lots of rainbow fun in the next couple of weeks, building up to St. Patrick's Day!
For the past few days, I have been gluing magnets to the back of just about anything I could think of. :) From craft sticks, to pom-poms, to pipe cleaners, we now have loads of new magnets! Why? We got a new giant magnet board (actually an oil drip pan from the automotive section at WalMart) that we have been having lots of fun with!
Magnets are a great science material for kids to explore. And they have just had so much fun doing it! They have done lots of experimenting to figure out what magnets will and won't stick to...and were really excited when they discovered that some of the magnets will stick to other magnets! :)
And with the variety of magnet toys we have, there has been some great creativity, counting, cooperation, planning, and teamwork!
Our Valentine "Heart Hop" game turned out to be an even bigger hit than I could have predicted! I have decided that I might just have to choose other shapes and ALWAYS have numbered shapes taped to my floor! :) I placed the hearts on the floor in the hallway that connects our toy room to the rest of the house, so every time the kids took that path, they were counting as they went! We used them for various follow-the-directions type of games, but even before I led them in any of that, the kids were hopping, jumping, counting (forwards AND backwards), and even organizing and communicating their own games. They also were able to reason that if this heart shows the number 7, and has 7 dots on it, then maybe that word there says "seven!"
And, the hearts were a great way to get out some of that BIG energy that is always so abundant on holiday party days!
We also had lots of fun with our themed breakfast and lunch, Valentine balloon play, painting, decorating Valentine treat bags (which led to a puppet-making session and puppet show!), and the highlight of course, passing out the Valentines they had brought for their friends.
Today I used an idea that I saw recently on both House of Baby Piranha and Teach Preschool. I set out the markers and some sheets of paper with various wiggle eyes already glued on. I love giving the kids a tiny suggestion and seeing how many ways they can all branch off of it from there.
The kids' creativity produced a lot of great monsters...
...and even a robot!