Sharon's Giving Tree Family Dayhome

ABC's and Apple Trees -- Loving and thoughtful care for your child

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Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs

Posted on November 26, 2007 at 7:53 PM Comments comments (0)

Program Highlights for Preschoolers:

 

I will try to catch up on the highlights of a couple of months of busy dayhome time in one entry?

 

All of our new routines are running smoothly, and I am so pleased with how kind the children are to each other now, and how helpful to each other and to me.  We started a sticker chart/reward program to reinforce the good behaviors and that is proving very effective.  Every day at quiet time, I try and catch up, giving stickers for all the good behaviors that I noticed but didn?t have time to reward during the busy morning activities.

 

The big theme in late September and throughout October was dinosaurs.  When our order of large dinos from Wintergreen toys arrived, we officially launched this theme.  (I haven't figured out how to post photos in the blog, please forgive all the commercial links in this entry!)

 

http://www.wintergreen.ca/catalogues/index.php?catalogue=1&cat=2&sub=162&imageref=2.4.8

 

The dinosaur models were the centerpiece for a long play and learning project which included doing dinosaur stencils, listening to songs about dinosaurs, chipping a dinosaur ?fossil? out of plaster, making coprolites (dino poop) out of playdough and making a dinosaur museum, like one of the paleontologists we read about did as a child.  My favorite moments included dinosaurs in the dollhouse, the boy who is an expert on the prehistoric teaching the others all about dinosaurs and their names, and one of the younger three-year-olds falling asleep on the couch while reading a book about his favorites called Giant Meat-Eating Dinosaurs.


There are nearly seven hundred dinosaur items in the County library and we signed out about ten percent of them for this theme.  We read lots more non-fiction than fiction, but the littlest ones enjoyed books by Sandra Boynton, the Usborne That?s Not My Dinosaur! and Danny the Dinosaur, an old favorite.

 

We listened to the Magic Treehouse book, Dinosaurs Before Dark, on a cd version that included other books from the popular kids chapter book series:

 

 http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/magictreehouse/dinosaurs.html

 

This was a very popular quiet time activity and I will be looking for more of these simple chapter-book stories.  The preschoolers who don?t nap here are definitely up to that level of narrative for listening, even if they can?t read along yet! 

 

We continued the library storytime visits for a total of eight weeks until the week before Halloween, when the weather got too chilly.  It was a big success?the older boys enjoyed the story times, the baby and toddlers enjoyed playing with the toys and other children.  For the baby especially, the library time was large motor time, as he cruised the train table and other activity tables and pulled himself up on the various riding toys.

 

We read a wonderful book called Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

 

http://www.amazon.com/Notable-Childrens-Books-Younger-Readers/dp/0152053042

 

We referred to this story as we went on leaf walks, pressed leaves in old encyclopedias, and made collages. 

 

For Halloween, we did our usual dress-up party, including scooping out pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns.  We did an activity another dayhome provider friend of mine suggested, giving each child a black human body outline and white playdough and having them make bones to copy a small skeleton toy, while singing ?dem bones? .  This was hugely popular and led to an interest in our human body ? which has led to lots of interest in our human body books and educational posters

 

To balance out all the rough and tumble of the dinosaur and superhero themes, we did a week of Barbie toys, and have brought out duplo, new wooden blocks, and farm animals upstairs, and our Little People collection as the main toys in our playroom for the time being.  We?ll be moving into an ocean life theme, but the main focus for the next few weeks is going to be on Christmas activities and crafts.

 

For Remembrance Day, we made a poppy craft, that involved painting two poppies, stapling them together, and stuffing them with paper confetti for a three-dimensional effect.  We also talked a little about war and peace and why we don?t play shooting games at dayhome! 

 

Baby Program Highlights:

 

Our dayhome baby comes two days a week, and I have been very pleased at how well he has adapted to our home and how loving the older children have been with him. They bring me any broken toys or small things they find on the floor ?so baby x won?t get hurt?.  They tell me at once if they think he is doing something unsafe and are quick to entertain him by making funny noises if he begins to get fussy.

 

One 3-yr- old who took his own time to start talking is fascinated with the question ?Why baby can?t talk yet, Sharon??, so we have been talking a lot about language development.  Our baby dolls are always out and they get fed and changed fairly regularly still.

 

The baby himself is enjoying watching the big boys and has started pretending to drive cars and tractors, one of their favorite activities.  He loves circle time songs, putting objects in containers and dumping them, any kind of toy piano or rhythm instruments, and outside time in a baby swing or a wagon.  His main focus is really strongly on developing those large motor skills. He?s determined to start walking so he can keep up with the big boys! As we are getting close to the crafty Christmas season, we will start him working with paints (made from yoghurt, beets, spinach and berries) and maybe flour-and-water paste.  The older children will enjoy helping me prepare these materials and learning about why they work and why a baby uses them.  The baby will hopefully learn by watching the older children that these materials go on paper, not in his mouth.

 

  

New in the Dayhome:

 

 Over the past two months, I?ve introduced some new equipment to enhance safety in the dayhome.  No safety equipment is ever a substitute for close supervision, but I am very happy with these new tools and satisfied that they do help children to be more independent while reducing the risks of everyday bumps and bruises.

.

A while back, a 2.5 year old fell off a stool while washing his hands and cut his forehead.  Ever since, I?ve been looking for a safer stool for hand washing and water play at the kitchen sink.  This is what I?ve found ? we?ve been using this for a few weeks

 

http://www.mylearningtower.com/

 

It also converts to a puppet theater, but the main use in our home so far has been as a really sturdy, untippable stool.

 

Also, when my own youngest child was an infant, I found a soft foam baby helmet in a baby boutique in Lethbridge.  He wore it to protect his head from falls when he was learning to sit up, pull himself up, and walk. It was wonderful, especially when we went on outings where we were around children who were a little bit older.  It also got him used to wearing a bike helmet.

I pulled this helmet out to use with my new dayhome baby this fall, with his mom's permission. It has saved him from a few bumps so far -- my home is baby-proofed, but there are still a few corners and the older children still leave toys on the floor, etc.

It has a Velcro chin strap and the helmet part adjusts for size.
 
I love this product and I've had a lot of positive comments on it, but I've never seen anyone else using one. I will definitely encourage parents of future dayhome babies to either wear the one I have or to supply one for their child.

 

Here is a similar product.  I think it would make a great baby gift or a great purchase for any mom who is starting her child in a childcare setting.


http://www.babynobumps.com/

 

We are also continually adding new equipment to enhance the educational and play value of the program we offer.

 

This writing centre from Wintergreen  usually sits on our craft table and keeps basic supplies like paper, gluesticks, pencils, erasers, crayons, chalk, scissors,  and letter stencils conveniently at hand.  I am seeing more spontaneous writing and craft projects already! 

http://www.wintergreen.ca/catalogues/index.php?catalogue=2&cat=38&sub=135&imageref=13713 

 

 

We also purchased a Little Tykes Log Cabin Playhouse for our yard ? there is a picture in the photo album showing that.  It is more enclosed than the Little Tykes Castle Playhouse  we already have, and I am seeing lots of play in there in cooler weather.  Having both structures leads to a lot of fun dramatic play adventures!

 

I was looking for a wooden toy kitchen, but was offered one similar to this last week by a friend who has upgraded to a larger one for her dayhome:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/LITTLE-TIKES-VICTORIAN-Country-KITCHEN-MI-PICK-UP-ONLY_W0QQitemZ230127898770QQcmdZViewItem

 

As this is nicer than the one we had, I accepted eagerly.  I love the idea of toys made from wood and natural materials?but this toy kitchen reminds me of the benefits of plastic ? it is light, easy to clean and move around, and babies won?t bump their heads on a corner of it.  Maybe I?ll put my search for a wooden kitchen on hold.

 

The same generous friend also gave us a preschool sized workbench that she used in her dayhome.  We will be experimenting with this in the new year, but right now it is being used as a Little People table, and as a counter space for the toy kitchen.  Toy kitchens, like real ones, never have enough counter space!

 

 

Milestones:

 

Three of our part-time children have celebrated birthdays since September. Now everyone in our dayhome is 3 and up except my 18 mo and the dayhome baby on Thursdays and Fridays.  One of our part-timers will be leaving us ? we will miss you Colin! ? and we will probably be starting a new child in the dayhome in January.

 

My husband has been helping out with the dayhome this month as I recover from a long-awaited jaw surgery.  It has been wonderful having him home during the day, and very involved with the dayhome as he was after our two youngest children were born, and we expect him to continue helping out and covering my medical appointments fairly regularly until the Christmas break. 

 

 

 

Wooly Mammoths, Acorns and Superheroes

Posted on September 23, 2007 at 6:08 PM Comments comments (0)

Wooly Mammoths!

 

Two large stuffed elephants in the playroom have become ?wooly mammoths?  in play, the influence of the little boy who is so interested in the prehistoric.  I signed out a number of books from the library about mammoths and the boys have been looking at the pictures and having me read bits out  loud to them.  Mostly, they are far above the level of preschoolers, but we have found some information that they found interesting.  We?ve speculated on how cavemen hunted mammoths and on whether if scientists cloned a baby wooly mammoth, would he be lonely or would he like being part of an elephant family?.

 

We did a "glue wool on the wooly mammoth" craft. The older three boys were pretending alternately to hunt and rescue "willy mommoths" and announced regularly and loudly "We're CAVE MEN!" It was very funny. My toddler was their "baby willy mommoth" for a while. And there have been days when I take a herd of boys bellowing like  mammoths to the playground, to the amusement of my neighbors.

 

We?ve been having fun with the superhero theme as well.  I was a comic book geek as a younger teenager and I still have about a thousand 1980s vintage superhero comic books in boxes in my basement?so when we put on the cd of superhero music and dance to the Batman theme, I am right there with the boys!

 

We found an amazing book at the library called Superhero ABC:

http://www.amazon.com/SuperHero-ABC-Bob-Mcleod/dp/0060745142

The little 2, 3 and 4 yr old boys in my dayhome are just enthralled with it -- reading it to each other, choosing which superhero is their favorite etc.. They debate, for example, whether Hayden has to like Huge Man best because he starts with "H" or if he can like Water Woman because she swims with whales.....

The author was a comic book artist before he did this book and has a website with coloring pages which I'm printing out for next week. I think we might be doing a "invent your own superhero" project, too.

http://www.bobmcleod.com/abc.html

I think my boys are definitely getting this book for Christmas and I'd recommend it to any parent or provider as a gift for a preschooler who loves Spiderman and all the licensed characters.

 

 We?ve been working on recognizing/spelling/writing our names.  I plan to do at least one activity a week centered on this ? so far we?ve traced letters to make our names, spelled our names in letter magnets, and stamped our names in playdough with plastic ABC cookie cutters. 

 

One of our dayhome boys is in kindergarten this year and another in a French preschool so we will be supporting the learning that they bring into the home from outside.  From past experience, I find that some children have enough of structured learning activities in their kindergarten or preschool hours, so I will be careful not to push that too much if they just want more unstructured play during their time in my home.  I am also not pushing the younger boys to do more in the way of crafts or activities than they want to. 

 

We?ve been collecting acorns and acorn caps and using them as manipulatives to practice counting and simple adding.  We made an adding wheel shaped like an acorn  with simple math facts adding up to no more than 5 for the younger boys and 12 for the older one.  They really liked using the pushpins to make the wheel.  I?ll look out for other activities where we can do this.  Maybe a color wheel or puppet project.


There are a lot of minor "pecking order" struggles going on this past couple of weeks, some physical, such as a boy shoving another aside to take a place in the front of a line, but more with hurtful words.

 

  The natural consequence of a child pushing others and knocking over or grabbing toys without asking is that the others might not want to play with him.  I let that happen for a little while last week and then negotiated the child?s re-entry into group play, on the condition that he be gentle with the others and use his words. 

 

The consequence of that situation was that the next day, the other boys began experimenting with exclusion, saying ?I?m best friends with you but not him and we won?t let him play with us!?  This is basically bullying and I don?t tolerate it.  Anyone in the dayhome who is able to participate in an activity or game in a way that is safe and respectful of others, will be allowed to do so. We?re talking a lot about friendship and leadership and caring for others, and I?m researching activity ideas to extend this theme. I'm thinking of  banning the words "best friends,"  because that leaves someone out, and insisting that we all are friends together.

 

I?ve seen this before, but with an all-girl group instead of an all-boy one.  I am very encouraged that conflicts are more and more verbal rather than physical, however. All of the children are speaking more fluently and clearly every week and that makes so much possible.  I am very pleased with how they are playing together, on the whole. They all have much to teach each other, and much to learn from each other when it comes to friendship.

 

We?ve attended two library story times so far and that regular Friday outing is going well.  Two 3 yr olds go into the story room for half an hour and the baby, toddler, and 2 yr old stay out in the main play area with me.  There are several moms and caregivers with younger children waiting around the train table area as well, so it has become like a playgroup time, and I read stories to them as well.  I have had some trouble with the toddler running away while we are walking through the library to the children?s area, so I dug out an old shoulder harness and ?leash? and I?m using that to keep him safe. That worked very well last week.

 

We went on leaf walks last week and collected leaves to press in old encyclopedias.  We did sponge painting and marker painting, using dried-out markers dipped in water.

Messier than coloring with markers, but less messy than painting. Also the water turns colors. Sometimes the children just want to make colored water and forget the drawing on paper.

 

In the playground, the boys are very interested climbing through the lower monkeybar rungs and hanging till they drop.  We call that, ?making monkeybar muscles?.  Getting outside for walks and playground time is so important for this group that we will make the best effort  we can to get out every day, even as the weather turns cold.  I made a new cover for the wagon ? like a stroller rain cover on a frame ? so that the little ones can stay warm while the older ones get the exercise they need.

 

The toy kitchen area is also a big hit.  At some point during free play, most of the little guys head over there to ?make a snack? .   I got some tin pots and pans over the summer break and they are much more fun than the plastic for the children , more real.  I will be looking to replace more of my plastic food and dishes with tin or wood as budget allows.  The baby dolls in the living room also get lots of attention, having their diapers changed and being rocked to sleep regularly.

 

We have 2 boys turning 3 very soon and they are very interested in the baby and the toddler ? always interested in what they are doing and making sure they are ok.  The baby is moving around more and there are many little guys who watch out for him, making sure I rescue him immediately if he shows signs of crawling backwards under the couch!

 

 

Rules, routines, and library walks

Posted on September 8, 2007 at 12:31 AM Comments comments (0)

Rules, routines and library walks.

 

Most of the children have rejoined us -- the last starts again next week.  It has been lovely seeing them again and discovering how much they all have changed and matured during their time at home over the summer!

As we get back into the swing of things, I am not attempting too much in the way of planned programming yet.  We are re-learning rules, especially the ones about safety, respect for others, personal care and taking responsibility for tidying up after oneself.  We are talking about rules and learning from reading books like the following: 

Hands are not for Hitting    http://www.freespirit.com/catalog/item_detail.cfm?ITEM_ID=93

Germs are not for Sharing   http://www.freespirit.com/catalog/item_detail.cfm?ITEM_ID=424

The House that Had Enough  http://www.cdaccess.com/html/pc/houseen.htm

 

I am imposing some rules, especially the safety ones, and trying to get the boys to generate others.  There is a poster up on the playroom wall with our favorite ?rule? keywords up on it and I plan to add others as the boys suggest it.

 

I?ve made it clear that the more the children can help with tidying up after themselves and being respectful towards one another, the more fun (messy) adventures we can have together and the more toys and materials they will have available to them.  The dayhome children have been very willing and committed to these routines.  My own have had a harder time, but are coming around as they realize that after the relaxed routines of summer and vacation travel, dayhome time is back and mommy means business!

 

In particular, I am focusing right now on having everyone say ?thank you? for meals and snacks and excusing themselves from the table. I am also having the older boys clear their dishes to the sink and the uneaten food to the counter by the fridge for me. This is working better than I?d hoped ? even the 16 month old wants to help!  I hope to work up to having them load the dishwasher themselves, too.  So any dayhome parents reading this, please feel free to have your sons start clearing the dishes at home while you kick back and relax!

 

Seriously, the after-lunch time last year, while I cleared away and cleaned up, was the most likely time for fights to break out and bumps and bruises to occur.  I think these children are old enough now to really be able to do their share, and having them help will make our transition from lunch to quiet time run more smoothly and safely.

 

We have set up some new routines with craft and play materials as well.  We have done painting with our new easel and spill-proof paint pots, sensory play with colored rice in our new-to-us sand table, and playdough play with new playdough toys.  The emphasis has been Montessori- like on ?this is how we set out the materials, these are the things we do with the materials, and this is how we put them away and clean up after? 

 

I?ve been watching the boys at play and collecting materials and ideas for some special themes based on their interests.  Definitely, we have to have a dinosaur theme, led by the four-year-old whose imagination is alive with dinosaurs, their Latin names and attributes?although every day is dinosaur day already because of him!  I am also looking at a Sharks/Ocean life theme, another round of the Space theme, but with a bigger emphasis on rocket ships, space suits,  and robots this time around, and we?ll have to do the bunny theme again in the spring because it was just that much fun!

 

I want to start with a superhero/hero/community helper theme, hopefully pulling together some threads of interest I see.  I often see the 3 and 4 yr olds playing with Spiderman, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear toys and they all have various superheroes on their underwear.  There is also a fascination with Scooby and Shaggy ? antiheroes who are scared of their own shadows and help anxious children to laugh at their fears.  I am hoping to talk about ?what is a hero?? (a helper) and maybe even touch on some very simple ideas and stories about heroes from the Bible , and from Greek Mythology.  Pulled my ?Superhero Songs? cd out today and the boys really cut loose, striking poses and dancing to the Spiderman theme and various other superhero music.

 

We have had some really beautiful outdoor time, too!

 

n      We?ve enjoyed picking apples for snacks, although the better tree didn?t produce at all this year.  We still used our cooking apples to make apple juice for lunch one day (but it is pretty pulpy!  I need a cheesecloth strainer for next year)

n      We have spent a lot of time in the secret playground. The children found a pile of pine cones under the branches of pine trees overhanging a fence ? these shady spots became forts and the pine cones became money, pretend food, and treasure.

n      We are walking a lot with our ?ring rope? and the carseats for babies in the big wagon, observing birds, cats, and various construction workers who are improving yards and roads in our neighborhood.  It is nice to have the time to dawdle and enjoy learning about the surprises we encounter every day.

n      We have added a wonderful Little Tikes log cabin playhouse, which is seeing a lot of play in our yard already!

 

Mondays through Wednesdays are going to be very active days, with lots of exercise and preschool activities that are as structured as I get.  On Thursday mornings, we are having baby days, interacting with and learning about the nine-month-old who has joined us and taken over the role of ?dayhome baby? this year.  I am modeling this as far as I can on the spirit of the Roots of Empathy/Seeds of Empathy program, which brings babies and their mothers into classrooms and daycares to teach children about empathy and reduce bullying and behavior problems.  The baby is enjoying the attention and presence of the big boys, who are competing to be gentle and helpful as I care for his needs. 

 

On Fridays, we have been walking to the library with our wagon ? about a 1.5 km trip one way.  There is a storytime program which two of the boys are registered for, starting next week..  We?ve done two  practice runs already, a good thing since I?ve discovered that it takes about half an hour to get ready to leave and  another hour to walk there, with time to stop in a park for a snack and enjoy the adventure of an extended walk through the neighborhood.  I?ve rigged the wagon with a hula-hoop frame and plastic cover, similar to stroller covers for wet weather.  Our crazy congestoga will let tired ones ride and keep the baby and toddler warm and dry. 

 

At the library, we enjoy the train table, the new toddler and baby toys they have available, and the adventure of choosing stories to take home for the dayhome to read that week..  All of the children are reading, together and separately, taking grownup books down and pretending to read them, looking at pictures, enjoying the magic of books.  I could do another long post about the joy of watching them all show me how important books are in their lives?but it is getting on towards bedtime! But I am very excited by all that is happening here this fall!

 

 

 

 

 

Rules, routines and library walks.

 

Most of the children have rejoined us -- the last starts again next week.  It has been lovely seeing them again and discovering how much they all have changed and matured during their time at home over the summer!

As we get back into the swing of things, I am not attempting too much in the way of planned programming yet.  We are re-learning rules, especially the ones about safety, respect for others, personal care and taking responsibility for tidying up after oneself.  We are talking about rules and learning from reading books like the following: 

Hands are not for Hitting    http://www.freespirit.com/catalog/item_detail.cfm?ITEM_ID=93

Germs are not for Sharing   http://www.freespirit.com/catalog/item_detail.cfm?ITEM_ID=424

The House that Had Enough  http://www.cdaccess.com/html/pc/houseen.htm

 

 

 

I am imposing some rules, especially the safety ones, and trying to get the boys to generate others.  There is a poster up on the playroom wall with our favorite ?rule? keywords up on it and I plan to add others as the boys suggest it.

 

I?ve made it clear that the more the children can help with tidying up after themselves and being respectful towards one another, the more fun (messy) adventures we can have together and the more toys and materials they will have available to them.  The dayhome children have been very willing and committed to these routines.  My own have had a harder time, but are coming around as they realize that after the relaxed routines of summer and vacation travel, dayhome time is back and mommy means business!

 

In particular, I am focusing right now on having everyone say ?thank you? for meals and snacks and excusing themselves from the table. I am also having the older boys clear their dishes to the sink and the uneaten food to the counter by the fridge for me. This is working better than I?d hoped ? even the 16 month old wants to help!  I hope to work up to having them load the dishwasher themselves, too.  So any dayhome parents reading this, please feel free to have your sons start clearing the dishes at home while you kick back and relax!

 

Seriously, the after-lunch time last year, while I cleared away and cleaned up, was the most likely time for fights to break out and bumps and bruises to occur.  I think these children are old enough now to really be able to do their share, and having them help will make our transition from lunch to quiet time run more smoothly and safely.

 

We have set up some new routines with craft and play materials as well.  We have done painting with our new easel and spill-proof paint pots, sensory play with colored rice in our new-to-us sand table, and playdough play with new playdough toys.  The emphasis has been Montessori- like on ?this is how we set out the materials, these are the things we do with the materials, and this is how we put them away and clean up after? 

 

I?ve been watching the boys at play and collecting materials and ideas for some special themes based on their interests.  Definitely, we have to have a dinosaur theme, led by the four-year-old whose imagination is alive with dinosaurs, their Latin names and attributes?although every day is dinosaur day already because of him!  I am also looking at a Sharks/Ocean life theme, another round of the Space theme, but with a bigger emphasis on rocket ships, space suits,  and robots this time around, and we?ll have to do the bunny theme again in the spring because it was just that much fun!

 

I want to start with a superhero/hero/community helper theme, hopefully pulling together some threads of interest I see.  I often see the 3 and 4 yr olds playing with Spiderman, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear toys and they all have various superheroes on their underwear.  There is also a fascination with Scooby and Shaggy ? antiheroes who are scared of their own shadows and help anxious children to laugh at their fears.  I am hoping to talk about ?what is a hero?? (a helper) and maybe even touch on some very simple ideas and stories about heroes from the Bible , and from Greek Mythology.  Pulled my ?Superhero Songs? cd out today and the boys really cut loose, striking poses and dancing to the Spiderman theme and various other superhero music.

 

We have had some really beautiful outdoor time, too!

 

n      We?ve enjoyed picking apples for snacks, although the better tree didn?t produce at all this year.  We still used our cooking apples to make apple juice for lunch one day (but it is pretty pulpy!  I need a cheesecloth strainer for next year)

n      We have spent a lot of time in the secret playground. The children found a pile of pine cones under the branches of pine trees overhanging a fence ? these shady spots became forts and the pine cones became money, pretend food, and treasure.

n      We are walking a lot with our ?ring rope? and the carseats for babies in the big wagon, observing birds, cats, and various construction workers who are improving yards and roads in our neighborhood.  It is nice to have the time to dawdle and enjoy learning about the surprises we encounter every day.

n      We have added a wonderful Little Tikes log cabin playhouse, which is seeing a lot of play in our yard already!

 

Mondays through Wednesdays are going to be very active days, with lots of exercise and preschool activities that are as structured as I get.  On Thursday mornings, we are having baby days, interacting with and learning about the nine-month-old who has joined us and taken over the role of ?dayhome baby? this year.  I am modeling this as far as I can on the spirit of the Roots of Empathy/Seeds of Empathy program, which brings babies and their mothers into classrooms and daycares to teach children about empathy and reduce bullying and behavior problems.  The baby is enjoying the attention and presence of the big boys, who are competing to be gentle and helpful as I care for his needs. 

 

On Fridays, we have been walking to the library with our wagon ? about a 1.5 km trip one way.  There is a storytime program which two of the boys are registered for, starting next week..  We?ve done two  practice runs already, a good thing since I?ve discovered that it takes about half an hour to get ready to leave and  another hour to walk there, with time to stop in a park for a snack and enjoy the adventure of an extended walk through the neighborhood.  I?ve rigged the wagon with a hula-hoop frame and plastic cover, similar to stroller covers for wet weather.  Our crazy congestoga will let tired ones ride and keep the baby and toddler warm and dry. 

 

At the library, we enjoy the train table, the new toddler and baby toys they have available, and the adventure of choosing stories to take home for the dayhome to read that week..  All of the children are reading, together and separately, taking grownup books down and pretending to read them, looking at pictures, enjoying the magic of books.  I could do another long post about the joy of watching them all show me how important books are in their lives?but it is getting on towards bedtime! But I am very excited by all that is happening here this fall! 

 

 

Dayhome starting up again!!

Posted on August 29, 2007 at 1:14 AM Comments comments (0)

I've been thinking about posting for days now and will try for a quick one even though it is past my bedtime.

I'm very excited to be getting back to work.  I've spent the summer enjoying time with my family and catching up on some projects that have been lingering from our big renovation a year ago.  My husband and I finished container vegetable gardens which will allow us to grow more organic produce and involve the dayhome children in this as an activity next spring.  We also made some improvements to the deck and swingset area of the yard that will increase the safety and enjoyment of it.  The wooden wagon is now painted orange -- if you see us in the park, you'll know who we are, for sure!

I have done much shopping, in educational toy stores and at garage sales, and have been reorganizing my home to add the following resources :

-new-to-us sand/sensory table for the playroom

-children's picnic table for the deck

-community helper puppets (Melissa and Doug)

- an assortment of wooden puzzles and toys for fine motor activities

- lots of new-to-us children's books to support themes I've planned for the coming year-- and curriculum books for me to help me plan more activities around books for preschoolers and toddlers!

- new laminated educational posters on telling time, rhyming, compound words, lots of support materals for early literacy (and my  1 yr. old is already proving their value  by pointing at the letters and trying to read them!)

-more wooden blocks, lego, duplo, and wooden trains and track for our collection

-new and new-to-us toys, tools and materials for playdough, the sandbox, and sensory play

--some new balls and bouncy toys for balance and large motor activities

-- several new-to-us games for pre-reading, early readers, to build literacy skills

-- some new dressup clothes and racks to hang them on

-- a white board for the kitchen, which gets a lot of use as children ask to work out the spelling of food items that we are eating (but why are there 2 "g"s in "egg", Sharon?)

-- new-to-us little tykes fridge, stove/sink/microwave combo, and a wooden table and chair set cut down to toddler size to enhance our toy kitchen play

And more that I can't remember off the top of my head!  As I get around to it, I will post updated pictures of our setup here.

And last, but definitely not least, we are saying goodbye to two little girls who will be entering grade one and no longer needing regular dayhome care.  (Good luck sweethearts!  Our time together was a wonderful gift that will never be forgotten!) 

We are also welcoming back the rest of our crew from last year, and a new baby who will be nine months old in September.  He is a happy little guy who is adjusting very well to our home in the first few days here.

It is going to be a great year!

Earth Days, Playground days

Posted on May 24, 2007 at 2:26 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello!  Long time, no post!

My time is obviously very tight in the evenings, with spring activities for my own children and my dh working lots of evenings.  I miss doing the detailed blog and hope to organize my schedule to get back to it soon.

Here are some highlights, in the meantime:

We celebrated Earth Day by putting on work gloves and picking trash in the woods, and by talking/learning about ecosystems and endangered animals.  One child insists that bunnies are endangered....

Here are some of the books we read for this theme:

On Earth by G. Brian Karas. 2005 ISBN 0-399-24025

 

The Dead Tree  by Alvin Tressalt  1972  0-8193-0564-2

 

Wolf Island by Celia Godkin  1993  ISBN 1-55041-095-4

 

Sun up, Sun down:  The story of day and night  by Jacqi Bailey and Matthew Lilly.  ISBN 1-4048-0567-2

 

Children of the Earth... Remember  by Schim Schimmel

 

We also have been reviewing our knowledge of planets (earth being one of them! and looking at a map of the world.

We've been playing with our animal families toys in lots of different ways.

 

We've been enjoying our new big wagon and lots of time in the playground -- time for sunhats, sunscreen and bug spray!

 

 We painted cloth "library book" bags for Mother's Day.

 

We have spent as much time as possible outside, organized a "building centre" in the yard with scraps of wood and work gloves for the children to use. 

 

We are spending a lot of time with our globe and map of the world as two of our dayhome children are on vacation in England and California, respectively. 

 

In June, I will narrow down our focus to the map of Canada and some Canada Day related materials.  But I'm sure the children will take this in all kinds of wonderful directions. We will also be spending more time outside and hopefully having a pool party or two on days that are warm enough for water play outside!

 

Today we read "No Dragons for Tea" (fire safety book) and "Blueberries for Sal"  We have toy bears and dolls out so the children can act out the Sal story of a mom and child and mother bear and baby bear looking for blueberries on a big hill. 

 

And this week, the apple blossoms are coming out on the trees! A couple of weeks later than usual, but spring is finally really here!  The children enjoy watching a pair of cautious robins who have nested in one of the apple trees by the swingset.

 

Bunnies, bunny money, wedgits and what spoiled the cream!

Posted on April 23, 2007 at 4:44 PM Comments comments (0)

Tuesday April 10

 

Well, I am behind on this.  Short version:  just about all of the children (my own and dayhome) have been ill one after another with various complaints and needing attention during the time that I normally would write. I?m happy to have some time to catch up during a naptime, finally.

 

Today felt like a Monday as everyone was off for Easter Monday.  I am noticing a real pattern to our weeks.  Mondays are usually more of free-play days as the children explore the activities and toys that I put out on Sunday for them to explore.  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are more structured with more premeditated activities and usually the full complement of 6 children in the mornings, and a smaller group of 3 or 4 in the afternoon, still doing activities.  Then Fridays are ?fun Fridays? with a looser structure again.

 

I?ve been reading about different approaches to preschool education again (well, still).  The Waldorf approach emphasizes nature and the organic and the child as part of the natural world.  One major element is that toys should be made of natural materials like wood, wool or cotton, not plastic or artificial fibres.  I really like the idea, though I?m not ready to get rid of plastic toys at this point ? I?d have very little left! However, I?d like to move in that direction with my toy collection. Waldorf suppliers sell ?silks? ? scarves of various sizes and colors in high quality silk that children use for dressup and making forts, etc.  This is an idea I can get behind.  I?m looking for a fabric store that sells silk in lots of colors and some time to hem the squares up.  In the meantime, I have been inspired to pull together the scarves I own and put a bin of them in the playroom.  They really are being used all the time for everything ? dancing, dressup, playing butterflies, making forts.  I think this is a step in the right direction.

 

Today, we also played a board game ?Color Train? (a color matching game).  The older children enjoyed building a marble run in the ?big kid space? and completing a 50 piece floor puzzle of endangered animals.

 

We had our collection of Wedgits out  http://www.wedgits.com/.  It is a wonderful building/puzzle toy that challenges the older children to match the patterns on the cards and is also safe for babies to experiment with, if you take the smallest pieces out of the set.

 

Wednesday April 10


I put all of the Easter toys away except for our 14 stuffed bunnies.  I had them lined up along the wall with various bunny stories.  In addition to the stories from last week, we read Beatrix Potter?s Peter Rabbit and  Rosemary Wells? Noisy Nora and used the stuffed bunnies to act them out.  The children did point out that Nora and her family are mice, not rabbits, which embarrassed me a bit because they are right!  They looked like bunnies to me, though.

 

The sensory table has become a ?shape table? this week.  I have laminated shape cards, toys and objects of different shapes, a poster of shapes, and various books and board books on shapes.  I?m challenging children to match the objects to the shape poster and to find other objects in the room that match one of the shape patterns.

 

Because of the hours of the part-timers on Wednesdays, we have long park expeditions after lunch, weather permitting. Today, we enjoyed the puddles again!

 

 

Thursday April 11

 

Today, I planned to follow through on some activity ideas I mentioned in earlier blog entries.  I sorted out some of our dinosaur models and put them on a tray next to the dinosaur poster in the kitchen.  This was a hit, as the children picked up the toy dinos and tried to match them to the ones in the poster, allowing for differences in color and size.  My, but we have a lot of stegosaurus!  And we need more duckbills!

 

I had two activities set out this am  at the kitchen table ? sorting foamy shapes by color and churning cream into butter in our juice pitcher (the kind with the plunging mixer).  My attention became distracted for a moment and suddenly the two activities became one.  One of the five year olds drew my attn to the fact that the  jug of cream was filled with foam shapes.  Oh well.  We?ll make butter another day, and do one activity at a time.

 

We continued the bunny theme.  We sang about another bad rabbit named ?Bunny Fu Fu? and read more Rosemary Wells books that I got at the library last night.  One of them, Bunny Money,  was new to me and came with a built in activity.  The story follows Ruby and Max on a shopping trip to buy a present for Grandma.  They spend the 15 bunny dollars in their wallet faster than expected and have to call Grandma for a ride home.  The characters of Ruby and Max are familiar to the children from Treehouse, of course, and they got right into the story, counting the money spent and the money remaining with me on each page.  The book comes with pages that can be photocopied and cut and glued together to make one and five dollar bunny money bills.  So we did that, copying them on my printer, cutting them out (some with my help), matching and gluing them.  I helped them make wallets out of brown manilla envelopes.  Many of the bills and wallets went home, but some are still kicking around 10 days later and the children are using bunny dollars in their games in a lot of ways.

 

 

Friday 13 April

 

We had this marked as a special day on our calendar because a little girl (now six) who hasn?t been to dayhome for a year was back for the first time, with her little brother in tow.  The children were excited to be here and had a great time exploring the toys and playing with their new and old friends. Our agency visitor came during morning snack and brought a collage craft.  She watched the children playing with the wedgits and was impressed by the skill of the 2-year-olds with scissors.  They are at the ?cut the paper up to make confetti? stage so not many of their crafts survive to be taken home.  Still, they are working very hard at acquiring this fine motor skill.  The visitor was also impressed by the evolving verbal skills of the two year olds.  Me too, especially when the newer two year old said "please" so beautifully at snack time and the then the regular 2 year old complemented the new guy, saying "Nice words!"

 

Play in the back yard today and yesterday as the baby slept a lot more than usual, due to an ear infection.  I carry a monitor in my pocket to keep an ear on him.

 

Had a special snack chosen by one child who finished one row of a sticker chart for four days without giving in to a bad habit.  Great job!

 

We read the bunny stories again and played with bunnies and dolls.  The house got quite messy ? it was an unusually big challenge for all of us to keep up with the mess and the children were too excited about what they wanted to play with next to be effective at tidying up.  My usual approach to this  is to make sure that next week we have fewer toys available in the playroom so children don?t get so overwhelmed and the toys are easier to keep track of.  With this group, I think I will put almost everything away and then have them bring new toys out as they want them, putting one toy away before another comes out.

 

Well, I?ve caught up one week, hopefully will get the next week?s entry done soon!

 

Puddles, Passover, Pre-reading, and Easter Eggs

Posted on April 9, 2007 at 2:42 PM Comments comments (0)

Monday/Thursday March 26 and 29

 

We had one dayhome child on these days.  Sorted through toys, washed toys, free play, vacuumed the playroom very thoroughly on Monday. The boys enjoyed helping me restring a toy guitar and we played with our two toy guitars and sang.  On Thursday, the weather was great so we went for a long nature walk through the bush on the Brentwood schoolgrounds.  We observed signs of spring and collected materials for  a nature collage ? including some bits of garbage that the melting snow revealed.

 

We enjoyed stomping on ice-covered puddles and splashing with puddle boots in the meltwater. We played in the playground for quite a long time and then came home to change our wet clothes!

 

My husband was home on the Thursday and did crayon drawing with the boys while I cleaned up the kitchen after lunch.  They loved this ? he hasn?t been around the dayhome much, having been very busy with work lately.

 

 

Monday 2 April

 

The dayhome was back in full swing today.  We changed over our calendar to April and talked about the April holidays, from April Fools day to Earth Day.

 

 I had Easter grass, plastic eggs, small stuffed bunnies, and egg cartons in the sensory table ? this is very messy stuff!  Much vacuuming on Monday.  The baby loved pulling the grass out of the table and basically rolling in it and the older children filled the eggs with the grass and counted them into cartons.  At one point, I went to the bathroom and heard the older children calling ?EASTER GRASS MONSTERS? and came out to find it all over the playroom.  Cooperative tidying up followed?.After Monday, I only had the table out for an hour or two each day, to make it more manageable. 

 

The craft/activity today was large sheets of white textured wallpaper taped to the table with our ?crayon cookies? out to color with.  I encouraged the children to color all over.

 

Our stories this week are children?s books about Passover and Easter, mostly child-appropriate versions of the bible stories and stories of how these holidays are celebrated today.  I bet Sunday School teachers for generations have already discovered this, but I found it much easier to talk to children about the stories of Moses and the exodus than about Jesus and the crucifixion/resurrection.  So we talked about the Passover stories more, with the addition that this was a holiday that Jesus celebrated as a child.

 

Tuesday

 

More of the same, with a funny Passover story about the Matzoh Man (like the Gingerbread Man).  Looked for matzoh crackers in the grocery store but didn?t find any. Next year, I will have to find a recipe to make some!

 

I pulled out all the spring/Easter stuffed animals and set them up under our ?Easter Tree? (branch to be decorated).  The children also really enjoyed building towers with blocks and with larger boxes and containers.

 

We glued the two sheets of textured wallpaper together and cut out egg shapes to hang on our Easter tree ? I used masking tape to make a point on pieces of yarn and showed the children how to punch holes in the eggs and thread the yarn through to tie them.

 

I pulled out a set of 30 cards with sight words printed in textured letters to be read and traced.  The children enjoyed this ? the oldest read the words well, the next sounded some of them out, the next knew the letter sounds but couldn?t make the leap to sound out words, the younger toddler insisted that every word said ?mom? or ?dad? and the baby wanted to play with the cards too.  Based on the success of this, I?ll look at getting more sets of these cards, probably in the summer. 

 

The weather is snowy this week ? we played in the playground once and in the back yard a bit.  We watered the sunflower seeds, which are mostly at the 2 to 4 leaf stage.

 

Wednesday. 

 

We made Easter baskets out of  soymilk cartons decorated with paper chicks and textured fabric in Easter colors.  The boys enjoyed gluing the fabric especially.  We?ll have to do this again. 

 

There was an elaborate game of playing puppies that all the children were involved in.  I heard the children playing that the mother dog died and everyone was sad and that she then came back to life and everyone was happy.  I?ve noticed this kind of playing at death and resurrection in the dayhome other years too at Easter season. 

 

They also went through a fad of piling pillows on each other and lying on the pillows.  I wouldn?t let them do this to the baby and supervised to make sure no one was uncomfortable ? but they really seemed to enjoy this and competed to be the one on the bottom of the pile.  I know that with special needs children, teachers often do sensory activities involving pressure on the body.  I assume the dayhome children were enjoying this activity from a similar sensory perspective.

 

The children had trouble deciding how to play their game on the mats at one point ? there was much squabbling.  They all trooped over to the activity table and got out markers and paper to make lists of rules.  The oldest wrote the word ?No? and then a picture of the  various activities she wanted to prohibit ? hitting, bringing boxes in the forts, etc.  Then she asked how to spell the word ?yes? and drew pictures of activities that she did want to see.  The 3.5 did the same thing, but his prohibitions were more abstract and he didn?t actually write the words yes and no ? he made rules about ?no circles? for example.  The 3 yr old scribbled a list of things to pack for our trip away this weekend in lines that looked a little like cursive writing.  And the 2 yr old drew all over the paper and said he was making a map. I love the way that the different ages all engage with a spontaneous early-literacy activity like this at their own levels. 

 

Thursday

 

A busy day!  I boiled eggs to decorate an we dyed them in a food coloring and vinegar water solution.  The youngest broke his eggs and dyed the insides rather than the shells to make a colorful egg salad.  The baby tried his first hard boiled egg, and made some really entertaining faces as he broke the shell and tasted the insides.

 

We read The Dumb Bunnies Easter about a family that mixes up holiday traditions and Beatrix Potter?s Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit, which is one of my favorite stories to read to small children.  Very dramatic!

 

The children followed me into the toy room and asked for instruments, so we got recorders out.  They tooted patterns of toots and the older children started to figure out how to play different sounds by changing their fingering.

 

We used the plastic eggs and had multiple egg hunts in the playroom.  Mostly the children took turns hiding them and finding them.  The 3s liked this the most.

 

I made some  ?shape sorters? for the baby with a plastic egg and a shoebox with a lid with a hole in it and  with some juice can lids and a coffee can with a slit cut in the lid. I?ve done this with every baby who gets to the stage of wanting to fit objects into holes but finding store-bought shape sorters too complicated.  The idea is based on some Montessori activities I read about a few years back, but using recycled materials instead of buying expensive wooden toys from Montessori suppliers.  The baby can easily fit the objects through the holes, and then take the lids off to retrieve the objects.  I can give him only one of these toys at a time, or give him several and let him sort the objects into their appropriate containers.

 

All the 2s and 3s loved these new toys too, so I made extras. 

 

A neighbor who is moving dropped off a bag of about 30 used children?s books she no longer needed (bless her!).  So our spontaneous activity in the afternoon was sitting around in the living room and reading these ?new? books.  Some nice board books, and some good quality 1970s-era stories for older children.  I haven?t read them all yet, but really like a book on how a dead tree falls and decomposes ? we could read that and go look at fallen trees in the bush ? and also some ?character education? board books including a nice retelling of First Corinthians famous passage about love.

 

We shared some chocolate that one child brought, and enjoyed a rabbit ornament brought by another that we will bring out every year for the dayhome. 

 

The children took home their Easter baskets and a new book from me as an Easter present. There are never too many books!

 

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feelings, Ponies, Planting seeds for Spring!

Posted on March 24, 2007 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Tuesday March 20 ?

 

The sunflower seeds are getting everywhere in the playroom (predictably) so this is going to be one of those weeks when I have to vacuum every day.  The 2-3 year old boys LOVE the toy vacuum I have and the real one even more!  They love to switch wands and heads on the vacuum. Today, I had to change a vacuum bag, and this was the ultimate excitement!

 

We also tried ?the pony game?, a variation on a large motor/imaginative play activity I?ve read about.  It was a huge hit and I  think this will probably be one of my dayhome's favorite games.


You need a space large enough for children to run in circles. Tell them first that they will be ponies and one or more can be the rooster (or roosters) Tell the ponies that it is nighttime and they have to lie down while you sing a lullaby and that they will get up when the rooster crows in the morning:

Rock-a-bye Ponies, snug in the barn
While you're asleep, you're safe from all harm
When morning comes, the rooster will crow
And then you'll wake up and be ready to go.

Then give the rooster the cue to crow. The ponies wake up and run around in a circle while you chant:

"See the ponies galloping, galloping, galloping
See the ponies galloping on the country roads"

Chant this over and over until the children are as tired as you want them to be. Variations include "See the ponies ponies walking, trotting, jumping, cantering, etc.

Then tell the ponies it is time for a break so they can have a pretend drink, a pretend snack , poop in their stall, for their owner to brush them, for them to whinney to their friends, whatever. Then it is bedtime for ponies and you start the game over. We did it until each child had had a turn to be the rooster.

The girls always seem to love pony games, but the boys loved this one too.

 

Wednesday March 21:

 

We tried a variation of the pony game where the children were race cars driving around the track.  Outside, the boys enjoyed hanging hula hoops from branches of the apple tree.  It looks quite cool.  We?ve done this in summer, hanging one or two hoops and throwing balls through them, but never 10-12 hoops hanging all at once. 

 

I think I?ve figured out how to use puppets more effectively in the dayhome.  I used to just set up a theatre and put out my assorted puppets all at once, but it didn?t get the play I?d hoped.  Lately, I?ve been pulling the puppets out one at a time and introducing them to the children slowly as characters.  There was the Clean-up Count a couple of weeks back, joined by the Picky Peacock.  Today, I brought out my hungry caterpillar finger puppet with the Eric Carle book of that title and had the puppet read the story.  The 3 yr old boys read it to each other afterwards and used the puppet to do so.  This story is so familiar to the children that I left out a single word and the five-year-old corrected me!  I?ll keep on with puppets introduced like this for a few more weeks, then I?ll try putting them all out together with the theatre and see what the children come up with.

 

We talked about the first day of spring and I tried to connect the calendar to the solar system theme we?ve done lately.  I don?t know if I got the idea of the earth?s axis tilt across to anybody, but we did play a wonderful game of pretending to be planets going around the sun.  We put the red bean bag in the middle of the room to be the sun and tried being planets rotating while orbiting around the ?sun?.  We all got very dizzy!

 

Read The Tiny Seed  again, and also Sunshine Makes the Seasons,  or some of it, anyway.  There are lots of experiments in there to show how the seasons happen and how day and night works.  The five year old spent some time reading through the book.

 

 

 

Thursday March 22

 

I put a tray of potting soil out today and we filled our pots with dirt and planted sunflower seeds.  This was very exciting and messy.  The older three year old was the most excited of all.  He kept yelling ?It?s growing!!!? as if the flower were going to pop right out of the pot right there!

 

Talked about the texture of the potting soil, and the organic matter and vermiculite that it is made of. 

 

?Flowers come from flower seeds,

We planted some today

First you water

Pull the weeds

Flowers come from flower seeds?

 

The baby loved touching the dirt. He is getting lots of supervision around the sensory materials and is learning that he must not try to eat them

 

We talked about how the plants will be like their parent plants and that each seed has instructions inside telling the plant how to grow.  I suggested that choosing seeds from the bigger seedheads  to plant might make plants that grow bigger flowers.

 

Three of the children left at noon and one more arrived.  One child missed her kindergarten bus, so I had to call an alternate pickup to drive her to school.  This worked ok, but I was over my limit of children for about 10 minutes due to the late departure.  (Although the baby was sleeping at the time, so no one noticed the extra child.) This is the first time in, I think, years that something like this has happened.  I am recording this here as a matter of policy to let parents know about it ? I think I mentioned it to everyone at pickup time, but am not sure.  Juggling numbers is one of the tedious parts of my job.


I repeated the planting activity with the two year old who came for the afternoon ? and then we vacuumed!  It worked out very well.

 

Friday March 23

 

I had 2 Perfection games with pieces out on the table for a fine motor activity today and all enjoyed them, except the baby, of course.  He is working on shape sorters too, but ones with bigger pieces.  He seems to know which pieces go in which holes, but doesn?t yet have the coordination to put the pieces in the holes easily, which frustrates him.

 

Speaking of which, one  of the twos is also working on emotional awareness --- well, all two-year-olds are doing this, of course.  When he gets mad, he puts himself in a little time out, going off to sit on the sidelines and fuming.  When he is ready, he rejoins play and a couple of minutes later, I am sure to hear ?Me not mad anymore! Not mad! Me happy!?  It is delightful to see how charmed he is by his recognition of his own change in emotions.  By the way, I do not put children in time-out for being upset or feeling angry ? this is his innovation. Very emotionally aware for 2!


Another of the twos is new to being in a dayhome and is also learning about his feelings.  He has had some moments of really missing mom but yesterday was much calmer and wanted to talk to me about mom and when she was coming back..  I was very proud of him, too!

 

We didn?t have to worry about the kindergarten bus and my own daughter was off school too.  We went for a long nature walk.  We enjoyed stomping on the ice in half-frozen puddles and using shards of melting ice to write our names on the driveway.  We looked for signs of spring and saw bicycles, snow melting, and pussywillows starting to pop out of their buds.  We walked through the bush on Brentwood Schoolgrounds and saw rose hips and berries leftover from last summer.  Our walk ended on the playground where one little boy went down the slide and landed on his bottom in a big puddle that looked like it was covered with ice but obviously not.  Time to go home for a change!

 

I got a book in at the library that I am excited about relating to curriculum resources.  There are a couple of authors that the homeschooling crowd knows about that have designed programs around reading the same story to the children  every day for a week and doing different activities relating to the story throughout the week.  It is very similar to what I am already doing with the Dr. Seuss books and the Tiny Seed this week, so I think I am going to enjoy adapting this approach for my dayhome.  I will have to add more on my curriculum page about this.

 

I won?t be writing in my blog next week as I am mostly closed for Spring Break.  See you in April!

 

 

St. Patrick's Day, Safety, and Green Eggs for Lunch!

Posted on March 20, 2007 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Wednesday March 7

 

I wrote a long entry about this week already and it got lost when I tried to post it, so this may be a little briefer than my usual style.   I am getting way behind on this month, so I?ll skip the detailed entries for this week and just catch up.

 

On Thursday March 8 we did more activities related to Dr. Seuss?s birthday, which is tomorrow.  Also the older children began the construction and decoration of cardboard ?puppy houses? for stuffed animals.

On Friday March 9, we tried a new fruit for afternoon snack and made up a rhyme about it:

 

?I went to

The store

To buy a

Papaya

I?ll ask you

Once more

Will you try a

Papaya??

 

Repeated infinitely.  The children were not totally excited about papaya, but we?ll have it again sometime soon.

 

 

Tuesday March 13

 

In the morning, a little boy was comparing a plastic dinosaur to our dinosaur poster.  We sat and did a detailed comparison and found it was a stegosaurus.  Have to do more of this with our other dino models soon.

 

We did spy paintings ? colored on white paper with white crayons and then painted over them with watercolor to show the writing underneath.  Learned that the ?spy drawings? show up better on some kinds of paper.

 

We went to the playground and really enjoyed a good long session outside.  One of the newer boys hid in the tunnel for a while  -- he found the others to be a little noisy for his taste.  I checked with him and told him that having some time by himself was ok and to tell me if he needed me.  He came out after a couple of minutes and joined the others on the swings.

 

A discouraging note for me ? one child fell off a bathroom stool and got quite a bonk hitting his head on the corner of the bathroom door, so we had to do an injury report (he?s fine now). New rule: no matter how sturdy they are at going up and down, all 2 year olds must have direct help from me to get off the bathroom stool.  All three of the 2 ? year old boys are usually very capable going up and down, but safety has to be the most important thing and we will adjust our bathroom routines to make sure no more accidents happen.

 

The home visitor came, and so did the fire extinguisher inspector guy.  He brought me a loaner and took my 2001 extinguisher into the shop for a refill.

 

We mixed yellow and blue play foam to see if it made green.  It did not, but still looked like yellow and blue mixed together.  

 

 

Wednesday March 14


We had green eggs and (plain) ham for lunch, inspired by Dr. Seuss, of course. The children loved stirring the food coloring into the raw eggs.  Half the younger ones flatly refused to eat the green eggs, but the 5 and 3.5 year old loved them.  They enjoyed reciting ?I like them, Sam-I-Am!? with every bite.

 

Our new potty training mantra to inspire the untrained boys to go to the potty regularly:  ?Are you a wet one or a dry guy?  If you wanna be a dry guy, you have to try, guy!? 

 

It seems to be working.  We are making up lots of little rhymes about everything.  The twos who are learning to talk/learning English love them especially,  the threes love the sense of fun,  and of course, the baby is loving the sing-song language, too.

 

Prepped blue and yellow playdough with my non-nappers in the afternoon for tomorrow.

 

Thursday March 15

 

One two year old arrived in underwear today and stayed dry all day, which put my 3 year old son?s nose a little out of joint, as he is still in pull-ups. (Maybe it will inspire him to use the toilet more regularly!).  The same little boy put on his splash pants all by himself, something none of the other boys could manage today, not even the older ones.  He also read much of Green Eggs and Ham out loud to himself.  He was a big dayhome star today!

 

We did some more St. Patrick?s Day activities.  I had pre-cut some shamrocks of various sizes out of green construction paper and had the children decorate a band of construction paper for a crown-type hat, twist green pipe cleaners around pencils to make them wobbly, and then attach shamrocks to them to make a wobbly hat with what look like leprechaun antennae.  Most enjoyed this. 

 

We also kneaded yellow and blue playdough to make green. Surprisingly, this simple activity really, really kept them interested as well as being a good hand-strengthening activity.  We read some St Patrick?s stories and we?re still reading a lot of Dr. Seuss.  We did a Shamrock hunt.

I also told them my family Irish immigrant story about the little girl named Eliza Morrison (my great-great grandmother) who came over from Ireland with her mother in 1835 to join her father and older brothers. I told them about how they all believed in leprechauns, and the ship journey, etc. They loved the part of the story where the Morrisons were dairy farmers in Ireland but they were so poor had to sell all the milk and cream and butter and their children only got the buttermilk to drink. The mom and dad wanted to bring their children to Canada where if the parents worked hard, they could afford to have their children drink the cream and eat the butter (ie. have healthy food and milk to eat and drink).

The older children were really charmed by that part of the story, so I'm going to buy some whipping cream soon. We will use our plunger-type juice jug to churn it into butter ?haven?t done this for a while.  We can give the children buttermilk for lunch to try like Eliza drank! If I'm really ambitious, I'll make soda bread, too.

 

Tunnel climbing, lots of play with the train table.  The two little boys who are awake on Thursday afternoon seem to need large motor play, turn taking and social activities, and just time to play and learn to share without too much structure.  So that?s what I?m giving them!

 

 

Friday March 16

 

On Thursday night, I picked up some new-to-us toys at a thrift store, including some more small-sized backpacks with zippers, as all the little boys seem to love packing bags and carrying them all over the house.  So on Friday, we washed the new toys, and lots of the old ones, and played with our new ones.  The children loved the eggbeater I found above all else.  I?m sure it will get lots of play in the back yard when we start sand and water play in a few short weeks!

 

We cleared off the shelves of the change table that was sitting in my playroom behind the couch and readied it to move away.   I have decided to donate it elsewhere, as we really weren?t using it for more than a toy shelf  (babies get changed in the bathroom)and its position in the room was dangerous to any child who might decide to climb over the back of my playroom couch.  Put more foam mats down behind the couch so now it is a soft, safer place to play.


We had a lot of fun making towers out of the boxes and empty buckets and plastic containers that used to be stored on the change table shelf.  We?ll keep these out in the corner of the playroom for a while and then move any items that survive outside to the play yard as the snow melts.  There are never enough ice cream buckets and yogurt tubs for all the mud pies and sand castles that get made in the spring!

 

 

Monday, March 19

 

I put some sunflower seed heads in the sensory table, along with magnifiers, and scissor-like tweezers.  We read the Eric Carle book. ?The Tiny Seed.? 


My quiet time is almost up for today ? will post what I have and get back to this later!  I am trying to figure out how to put a counter on this page to see how much, if any, dayhome families are actually reading it.  The only way I can figure out to do this is to keep copying the counter into each new entry. So that is what I will do!

 

 

Arrgh!

Posted on March 15, 2007 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I had a good long entry typed in a couple of days back and lost it all when I tried to post it!

I am redoing it through my word processing program and will copy it in when I am done, sorry!


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