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No more blog entries here

Posted on November 5, 2011 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (651)

As you may have guessed by no new entries in several years, I have moved to other, more private formats to share information with current dayhome families.  However,  I will leave the old blog entries up here to give you all an idea of what my program looks like.

January 2008

Posted on March 17, 2009 at 4:43 PM Comments comments (0)

 January brings the snow

Makes our feet and fingers glow!

I thought of Sara Coleridge's old poem about the months while we were outside in January.   Another poem that I say with the children when we are getting ready is this:

Thumbs in the Thumb Place!

Fingers all together!

That is how we wear our mitts

In the wintry weather!

The older children and I dig paths in the yard for toddlers and pile the snow in a huge mound in the centre of the yard, which is available for fort building and climbing.  The little ones have been loving the log cabin and the sled.  I'm getting lots of exercise pulling them around the yard. Here one of the toddlers is pulling the other one on the sled!

For Chinese New Year, we read The Rooster's Antlers , a story about the Chinese Zodiac (info here, scroll down a bit), and used animal models to act out and talk about the story.  We set them up on a red silk scarf and looked up China on our map of the world.

We did stamp painting with star fruit:

and ate some other oriental foods, like lychee, dragon fruit and fortune cookies, along with rice and stir fry for lunch.

We have the play kitchen and doll care centre upstairs for the winter -- I will try to take a good picture of it, but we are taking good care of the baby dolls here, rest assured!

When the weather is cold, we spend a lot of time indoors.  I put a picture of one of the playroom climbing and jumping places in the photo gallery, here .


December 2008

Posted on February 20, 2009 at 4:19 PM Comments comments (0)

We had a busy few weeks leading up to the Christmas break!

Our apple trees had a bumper crop this fall, and we used the last of the fresh apples to make some apple sauce for a snack:

Peeling apples is a favorite activity here with the toddlers and preschoolers alike.  I put the apples in the peeler and the children crank the handle to peel and slice the apples, then sort the peels into the compost and the sliced apples into the pot, ready to cook.  The two and four year old boys were especially disappointed when we finally ran out of apples.  Fortunately, we have a few cases of homemade applesauce canned and stored away, enough to last until apple time comes again!

We had the felt board out with felt letters.  The children asked me to write words on the chalkboard and they tried to find letters to copy the words on the feltboard.  The older children did a dinosaur felt board theme, based on a song we made up, called the `12 Dinosaurs of Christmas.'  This project was specially requested by the dayhome 5-year-old, who loves dinosaurs!  He "graduated" from the dayhome after Christmas, to spend more time at home with his new baby sister.  We miss you!

The toddlers helped me make some Christmas soaps, and we also made ground cherry and pineapple preserves out of the fruit we picked back in the early fall. Then we wrapped our presents for our parents -- one little guy wrapped his gift with lots of black hockey tape.

We attended the Family Day Home Agency Christmas party at MIllennium Place again this year.  The boys really enjoyed the indoor playground after a couple of weeks of bitterly cold weather


We had a couple of dayhome parents attend the event to enjoy it with their children.  

The agency served a healthy lunch in the party room and then we decorated cookies:

The boys were not one bit  shy of the special visitor in the red suit! 


Each boy received a special book that we enjoyed reading together  when we got home.

We got out the puppet theatre kit for our Learning Tower and had some fun acting out the stories, too!


We made lacing cards shaped like stockings, a craft idea we got from a friend who runs a wonderful dayhome in Edmonton

 Thanks for the suggestion, Jen!

Dia De Los Muertos

Posted on February 17, 2009 at 8:36 PM Comments comments (0)

 After Halloween, we celebrated All Souls Day on November 1, learning about the Mexican holiday known as The Day of The Dead.  We made pain de los muertos, or 'bread of the dead' -- little loaves shaped like skulls, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  We read some wonderful picture books about the way this holiday is celebrated in Mexico, including Clatter Bash: A Day of the Dead Celebration by Richard Keep and Ghost Wings, by Barbara M. Joose.  These books introduced us to ideas of remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away, which helped us learn about Remembrance Day.  We also learned about the monarch butterflies and their annual return to Mexico and did a butterfly craft.

We continued learning about Mexico for most of the month.  We made corn tortillas and read a folk tale called The First Tortilla, by Rudofo Anaya, about how the gods gave corn to the Mexican people.  My daughter, who is learning Spanish in school, read the story to us in Spanish as well as English. The dayhome children acted out this story with dollhouse dolls, animal models, a play forest and mountain:

We shelled the dried kernels off the corn cobs we grew in the garden and used real corn in our play to represent the gift of food.  (We fed most of the corn to the dayhome pet, Riddle the hamster).  

  We made cornhusk dolls with the husks from the stalks, just as children used to long before they had toy stores. We also read an Aztec story about how music was brought to the world.

Also this month, we made a toy forest scene out of branches from our apple tree, with the tips covered in burlap to prevent pokes.  Silk scarves become leaves and we can change the colors with the seasons.

Fall Colors

Posted on February 14, 2009 at 9:04 PM Comments comments (0)

 November was unusually warm and we enjoyed lots of time outdoors before winter truly set in.  We looked for signs of late fall, enjoyed the crunch of leaves underfoot and made some amazing discoveries: 

A black and white feather, tiny in our hands....

and a hollow tree where treasures might be hidden or found!

We made autumn collage paintings by painting with fall colors on kraft paper, and then gluing pressed leaves we'd gathered on top, to the tune of Percy Shelley's Ode to the West Wind....


The glue was sticky on the fingers for the toddlers!

(There is another picture of the group working on their fall pictures in the photo album.)



Halloween 2008

Posted on November 2, 2008 at 1:52 AM Comments comments (2)
Digging out pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns has become a holiday tradition for us.  This year, we hollowed out four pumpkins, designed images for them (which I carved), and roasted the seeds for a snack.  

Once again, I was impressed with how well this worked as a sensory activity.  Getting our hands gooey, talking about the smell of raw pumpkin, scooping out the innards with spoons and fingers, and sorting out the seeds from the pulp was a calming and absorbing activity for all the children

  The children drew pictures of the images they wanted to draw on the pumpkins.  One boy drew a face with a mouth full of jagged-edged teeth. As I carved this feature, another boy watching me commented that the teeth "looked like Ws".  This boy drew a picture of a fire rising from sticks and wanted me to carve that image on a pumpkin.  I managed it, but unfortunately, the image shattered when he tried to carry the pumpkin to the doorway.  This was disappointing, but at least we still had his impressive drawing. The toddler loved digging her hands in a measuring cup full of pumpkin seeds! 

Later, we took our wagon full of Jack-o-lanterns to the playground with us!

As a large motor activity, we danced to "monster music" in a darkened room with glow sticks. Everyone was very excited to see the colorful patterns they could make in the air with their sticks.  Here is what the room looked like in the light:

And this is the image my camera captured when the lights were dimmed:

The children loved picking out their part of the photo by the color of the streaks of light.  

Posted on September 17, 2008 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Behind on the blog...

Posted on July 14, 2008 at 5:23 PM Comments comments (0)

I have gotten quite behind on posting blog entries and photos this spring, and hope to catch up a bit over the next few weeks. I have been working on courses towards an Early Childhood Education diploma, and that is taking up my limited computer time right now.

Hope to get back to posting regularly about some of the fun the children have had here. Maybe I can make blog posting part of a course project...

Beach Day

Posted on March 4, 2008 at 4:17 PM Comments comments (0)

A boy in our dayhome went on vacation to Hawaii, and we took some time to look at our world map and globe and talk about where he was during his absence.  We also talked about places we'd been and found them on the map, too.

When he returned, he brought a Putumayo cd of Hawaii music to share, and we started a Hawaii/ocean theme. We had pineapple and bananas for lunch and I'm trying to think of a good coconut milk recipe for Thursday...

We put rocks, shells, and ocean animals in the sensory table on a blue silk scarf, to represent water. I think the lace on the scarf looks like sea foam! We'll play with the same objects in the water table later this week.

We also set up a fishing game on the couch, using plastic fish, rods, and an ocean theme shower curtain.  It has been fun watching the boys sitting together on the couch, fishing away. They like

using the tackle box to pack their "lunch" in.  I was hoping we could leave this fishing centre out all week, but we've had to clean it up because the fish kind of hurt our feet when we step on them.

We also danced the hula, and when we were finished, used the grass skirts to make a thatched hut on the beach.  I can't take credit for this idea; I stole it from a homeschooling friend of mine! The hut didn't stay thatched for very long, because the boys kept wanting to hula some more!



Winter days

Posted on February 26, 2008 at 3:16 PM Comments comments (0)


Woohoo!  I finally figured out how to post pictures in the blog!  I'll do a bunch today to catch up a bit on what we have been doing. We have been very busy!


wintertree.jpg wintertree picture by salmhowe



We made winter tree decorations with colored water, string, and muffin tins.  The toddlers loved playing with the colored water, using the strings to pick the ice pucks out of the muffin tins, talking about melting, freezing, colors, trading them....very cool activity.

We rearranged the playroom (again) to put our workbench next to the craft table, like this.

snowfort.jpg snow forts! picture by salmhowe

We have been spending as much time outdoors as we can and have had a couple of snow forts in the back yard.


During the bitter cold days of January, there was a lot of fort building indoors, too!


sbdaypuzzles2.jpg puzzles at the craft table picture by salmhowe


The upper area (brown table) is for messy crafts and activities, mostly.  We do puzzles on the lower area and the toddlers are loving having a space for this!  They are working on 4-6 piece puzzles while the older boys are in the 24-40 piece range. 

We did lots of Chinese New Year activities, helped out by a dayhome family from Taiwan.  We made Chinese dumplings, Rat crafts and these signs to take home and put on our doors.  The top one means "spring" and the bottom one means "luck."

We glued old letter blocks together to make our names:


For Valentine's day, we made heart-shaped soaps:

We also celebrated 2 dayhome birthdays and have been experimenting with some new healthy menu items (see the new menu page of this site).