Well, the weather outside today was pretty frightful, but it was a perfect day for some "snow playdough!" We added some buttons, orange pipe-cleaner "carrots", fleece scraps, and twigs and had fun building some great little snowmen!
This group is ALL about tractors these days! So this morning, we did some painting with them. Tractor track painting was a hit! They rolled and rolled and rolled their tractors, and then when they were all done with that, we had a "tractor wash!" :)
There was a fun sensory walk of tape balance lines, sticky contact paper, and bubble wrap waiting to greet the kids as they came in the door this morning! They enjoyed the sensations that the bubble wrap and sticky paper had to offer and had fun following the tape lines on foot, and later, with cars too. And of course, any time we are reminded of tape, we have to use up at least one roll of it all over the floor. :)
Learning how to effectively rip a piece of tape off a roll is a very hard thing for little hands to do. Another of our kiddos has today joined the prestigious ranks of our “tape-rippers” and she is very proud! Learning to rip tape is such a badge of honor around here not only because it is such a useful skill (we LOVE making tape shapes and designs on the floor!), but also because of how hard it is to do! Have you ever noticed how the pride you feel in an accomplishment is directly related to how hard you had to work to achieve it?
The more times kids get to experience trying, practicing, and finally succeeding at those “hard things,” the more confidence they will have that they will be able to accomplish more “hard things” in the future. Learning to tie shoes can be a hard thing. Learning to solve math problems can be a hard thing. Learning to read can be a hard thing. Each time kids are allowed to completely own the process of mastering a new skill, they gain confidence that they will be able to do it again and again. And it’s okay for kids to struggle a little in the process. That just makes the end result so much sweeter!
The crunch of a good leaf pile is definitely my favorite thing about fall! Think back to the best memories you have of your own childhood. I'll bet there's one similar to this on that list. What are some of your other favorite memories of play as a child? Asking yourself that question is a fantastic place to start when thinking of things to do with kids!
We had a great time with the process of making our own applesauce today! There is something so powerful in being trusted enough to use REAL tools to do a job! The kids and I peeled the apples, then used the slicer to cut them up, and added the ingredients to start cooking. They were so excited to learn how one of their favorite foods is made, and were just as excited to get to eat some for snack! :) Of course, they also enjoyed snacking on the apples themselves throughout the whole process. I think between the four oldest kids, they ate the better part of eight or nine apples, before we even got around to the applesauce! I can't think of a better sensory experience than something completely edible, that smells delicious, can snap and crack in your hands, or even feel mushy, is smooth and shiny in one spot, and rough and wet in another...so much great, authentic sensory input today, even for the littlest ones!
We went out to finish picking a few more of our mini pumpkins this morning, until little hands got too cold (it can't really be time for gloves ALREADY, can it?!?) and then we came in and made a fresh batch of slime! Ours today is equal parts glue and liquid starch, but there are LOTS of fun slime recipes here: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/04/slime-recipes_26.html
It was pumpkin harvest day today! We have had so much fun watching our mini pumpkin vines grow up over our wire tunnel and produce pumpkins, and we had just as much fun picking and collecting them today.
I really had hoped to post more of our progress on our Outdoor Classroom here, but I do have it all in an album over on our Hilary's Home Daycare Facebook page. I'd love it if you'd go check it out! :) I am so extremely happy with our Outdoor Classroom right now and I am already looking forward to the start of the next growing season so we can start it all over again!
I am pretty sad that summer is coming to an end, but we are not going to let that stop us from enjoying every last bit of nice weather in our new mud pie kitchen! (Though I think it will make a fun snow pie kitchen, too!) I still hope to add a real kitchen sink on the left side, but it's definitely usable! The kids were so excited to see it ready for play this morning, and they have already spent hours scooping, digging, squeezing (great pre-writing work!), counting, measuring (math concepts), role-playing, planning, communicating, problem solving (VERY important social skills), just rolling in the new dirt patch, and having SO MUCH FUN!
We were also in the mood for some painting today, so some jumped right into that as well!
Chalk paint was a big hit yesterday! Equal parts cornstarch and water, with food coloring or liquid watercolor mixed in, then frozen. The kids had fun using them as chalk, and then even more fun when they discovered that as it melted, it made oobleck...one of our favorite sensory materials! They loved watching the colors swirl and run together as it melted.