Monthly Archives: September 2015

boys

Boys will be boys: File under “unacceptable”

Boys will be boys.

I find that phrase a bit frustrating.  While I believe that there are definitely attributes that are inherent to the sexes, I also believe that as parents we have a responsibility to raise our children to act beyond their impulses so that they can learn compassion, kindness and empathy.

I watched our boys thoroughly enjoy themselves as they roughhoused with other willing children at our Pirate playdate.  They were all boys in the “mosh pit”, with mothers keeping an eye out and making sure that there were boundaries around the play, like keeping the hands off the face and neck, swords off the head, hands above the belt.

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In the back of my mind as I was watching this kind of play, is the lesson that we had read in science.  We were reading about wolves, and one section talked about how male wolf pups play fight in preparation for survival in adulthood.

Lightbulb!! So maybe in our human history, there once was a time when boys *had* to fight – it was a matter of having the survival skills they needed in a primitive society.  Except…in this first world country, we are far and away from being creatures of survival or subsistence.  We are, for the most part, living within four walls and purchasing food from stores; we are no longer battling our rivals for land or water.  Those days are part of our history, not day-to-day reality.

In the childbirth work we do, I talk about how women’s bodies birth in “cave mode”.  Our instincts don’t know we are birthing in the 21st century.  Unless we get rid of the virtual “tigers” prowling outside the cave, our bodies are closed to the birth journey.  Why wouldn’t that hold true for our sons? Maybe there is some deep instinct to fight for a variety of reasons: survival, defense, protection.  Watching the rough play, I realized that within our sons’ instincts there is probably a time and a place for that kind of play.

However, in this century, when we know better and can do better, we have to stand up against the “boys will be boys” idea as an excuse or an explanation for inappropriate behavior.  There is no reason why, in a civilized society, we are still hearing stories of rape and abuse.  Real men do not hurt, belittle and harm.  Why are we still accepting aggressive behavior from the white collar CEO who rants and raves at his staff?  Why does the rapist who preys on unsuspecting women know that he can, because the blame will fall on the woman and what she was wearing or drinking?  It has to stop.

The ideas that raise my biggest ire are the belief systems that teach the woman is mainly responsibility for a man’s desires.  Those in power tell women to dress modestly and wear a certain type of clothing, or else men will be tempted.  Really?? This is what we are spending time teaching from pulpits when there are so many other responsibilities that the church is charged with (widows, orphans, the homeless to name a few). Are we no better than base animals when females are in heat?  Are we to believe that there is nothing that a man can do to resist his urges??

Yes, I have learned that men are visual.  I get that images are interesting.  And guess what? There is such a thing as self-control, another teaching that is in many belief systems.  Why not emphasize that as well??  Every woman that boys and men are looking at is someone else’s mother, daughter, child.  That alone should be enough to exert some self-control, change their gaze, and start checking their impulses.

Where does this self-control begin?? It begins by introducing the idea when children are playing.  Stop “letting boys be boys” all the time, and start teaching them to be human beings with a heart as well as with impulses.  We can teach them that it is okay to have times when we play rough as long as everyone is in agreement, and then there are other times when we use gentle hands.  We have to be willing to intervene when other children are getting hurt, or when we see that the play is escalating to bullying.

As one of my friends says, “No matter what I do, I can’t keep my two boys from being rough with each other. They play by jumping all over each other. Constantly. I choose to allow that type of behavior, and I also choose to make sure it stays safe and respectful. I allow it because I feel that they are “born that way” and that it helps create bonding between them. I feel like that’s the way they talk to each other. Do I understand it? No. But I allow it with limitations while teaching them that there’s a time and a place. They can be crazy together, but they’re also required to be gentlemen when they interact outside of their circle.”

We can start by intervening when we hear a playmate say No or Stop, even it it still looks like they are playing to us.  When we are teaching the very basic concept of “No is no!” or “Stop is stop,” we can also teach them the reverse is true.  “Just like (playmate) is asking you to stop now and I am asking you to respect them, I would also expect someone else to respect you when you say No or Stop.”  And I am not talking about yelling, “No is no!!” across the room, and then continue on with whatever we are doing.  I mean that we are going over to the child, getting down to their level, and looking at them in the eye when this conversation happens.  We have to take the time to show them how important it is to respect others.

We can also demonstrate that concept when our children say No or Stop to adults in our social circles.  Something simple to deflect unwanted hugs, kisses, pats; whatever we know bothers our children based on past conversations or the body language we are seeing as the interaction is playing out in front of us. Here is a way we have handled it in our family, “Sorry, (family member)…it looks like (child) isn’t giving out (hugs) today. Maybe next time. (Child), please use your words to say good-bye today, okay?”  

Children will emulate what they see and experience.  It is paramount that we teach them that their personhood is respected, and they alone have the right to say what does and does not happen in their personal space.  Unless we can stand up and lead and guide with love, we will remain in the rape culture where a person says No and despite their protests, is forced to engage after the No.

I hold both my daughters and my sons to expectations of compassion, kindness and empathy – the qualities that bring out the best of our humanity.  Will you?

Special thanks to the SPB community who offered insights and suggested edits as I crafted this post: N.C., A.L., K.N., and J.S. – thank you so much for your time!!

Here is a question:
What if you are at a playdate or at the park, and one child’s parent is okay with the aggressive behavior, and the other child’s parent is not? How would you handle it, or how have you handled it if you found yourself in this sistuaion?

PPDpirateday

Preschool Playdate: Pirate Adventure

We held a pirate-themed playdate last week in honor of “Talk like a Pirate Day” that was celebrated on September 19th.

Getting the morning started:
— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge; peers learn each other’s names)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

I was so excited for the Sweet Peas to get into the activities that we had planned for the morning that we completely skipped over the story, the unsquiggle *and* the song last week.

We did use some bunting flags I had printed for Charger’s birthday party two years ago to introduce pirate vernacular – it was fun to hear a roomful of toddlers making their best imitation of pirate-speak!

Pirate Playdate Download

STORY TIME
How I became a Pirate is the story of a little boy who is captured by pirates and returned home as a hero.  Our family also enjoys the rhyming prose in Portside Pirates that relates a “day in the life” of a pirate crew.

Even though we skipped the read-aloud by accident in my excitement to start the centers, I did play the audiobook version of Portside Pirates that is set to music during play time.

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LITERACY CENTER
Level 1: Pre-writing activity: connecting the dotted lines to practice lines and curves

Level 2: Letter identification with the letter cards

Level 3: Identify the beginning sounds and/or reading three-letter words

GAME: “Memory” with pirate vocabulary picture cards

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Sources:
Advanced Tracing; Beginning/Ending letter sounds worksheet
http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2014/06/pirate-theme-early-learning-printables/

Basic Tracing; Word/Letter Match
http://learncreatelove.com/pirate-week-recap/

MATH CENTER
Level 1: Add jewels to the treasure chests or count out parrots flying over the pirates

Level 2: Order the treasure cards first (1-6) and then count out the “jewels”.

Level 3: Order the parrot activity  cards first (1-15) and then count out the parrots.

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Sources:
Treasure Chest Clip Art
http://www.clipartlord.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/treasure-chest4.png

Parrot Counting Game
http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2014/06/pirate-theme-early-learning-printables/

DISCOVERY TABLE
This was a prep-ahead activity.  The night before the playdate, the girls and I made these in the kitchen. There are only four ingredients: baking soda, water, gelatin, and food coloring.

We used ice cube trays that lend themselves nicely to a treasure chest shape.  Fill them half-way up with the mixture, add a treasure to the middle, and then fill to the top.

They popped out easily, and the Sweet Peas really enjoyed the experiment.  There was the initial sight and sound stimulation as the application of vinegar reacted with the baking soda.  There was a smell component with the vinegar, and then a kinesthetic component as the children dug into the goo to retrieve their treasure.

In order to add a little element of observation, we put vinegar in an empty glue container for more of a pouring effect, and also in a spray bottle.  We had two square pans; one child would use the glue bottle in one pan, the other would use the spray bottle in the other one.  Then they would switch so that they could each experience the “fast” and “slowdisolvement of the treasure chests.

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Source:
http://fun-a-day.com/pirate-science-fun-exploding-treasure-chests/

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
We did this in the kitchen so that any Sweet Peas who don’t like getting their hands dirty could head straight to the sink to wash up afterwards.

Set up: poured paint into a divided plate with red, tan, and black.
First, I painted the tan section in the middle so that I wouldn’t have to be neat with the center portion.  The red went on next, and the black went on last.  Several of the children commented that it tickled…I learned to warn them about that as we went along :)

Pictured below is the progression of the craft:
Top L: handprint from hand painted with three colors

Top R: finished sample pirate print

Bottom: Puma & Charger’s interpretation of the craft – they didn’t like the separated beard so they each took the pen we used to add detail to make the craft original and attractive to them.

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Source:
http://www.makinglearningfun.com/PirateFromHandPrint.htm

FREE PLAY:
I like to leave some time for the Sweet Peas to interact with everything we have set out without structure.  Sometimes they go back to a favorite game or activity; today it was full on pirate battle!! I set out the mats to be the “water’ and pulled in some big boxes to serve as ships.  Everyone quickly abandoned ship and used the “water” as the battlefield for an epic encounter between the green and the blue team!

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

As always, we had a fun playdate – we are blessed with an amazing SPB community to spend time with.  Stay tuned: my boys have requested a knight-themed playdate for next month!!

spankingSept21

Spanking: Not an option

Spanking.

If you told my 25-year-old self that I would be totally opposed to spanking when I became a mother, that Krystyna would have scoffed at you. What could be wrong with it? Kids need discipline from time to time, and spanking definitely yields results. I was spanked, and I turned out ok. Right?!?

Enter the voice of a wise woman I worked with – one sentence started to shift my perspective on the whole spanking thing. I commented on how lovely her children were to be around, and asked about her parenting style. I was shocked to hear that she didn’t spank them; I just assumed all well-behaved children had been paddled into submission. As it turns out, this mama believed in and practiced gentle parenting, even though I didn’t know the term at the time.

Q: “You have never spanked them?”
A: “Never – spanking is a big person hitting a little person – nothing makes sense about that.”

Wait…WHAT did she just say?

The decision not to spank was sealed when I gave birth to Puma. As I held her in my arms that very first hour, I knew that hitting her on purpose, with intention to punish or discipline, was not going to be an option.

And so started the mental shift from considering spanking an acceptable form of discipline, to striving to find as many other natural consequences and gentle parenting techniques as possible.

Here are two of my favorite quotes from L.R. Knost:

LRKnost ChildishLRKnost Meltdown2

Childish behavior is normal…for children. <3 http://t.co/T8goym3P6Z
Posted by L.R.Knost – Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources on Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let’s practice what we preach. <3 http://www.littleheartsbooks.com/
Posted by L.R.Knost – Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources on Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Gentle Parenting Go-Tos

Parenting with intention is easy when our cups are full and we are rested.  Realistically, how many of those days we *actually* have depends on the season we are in as a family.  Do you need resources to help stay gentle? Here are some websites that have been helpful to me, and other students in our SPB community:

Aha! Parenting
http://www.ahaparenting.com
“Are you looking for that Aha! Moment to transform your child’s behavior, or maybe your own?
Whether you’re wondering how to handle a specific challenge, just figuring out your child-raising approach, or ready to tear your hair out, you’ve come to the right place.
You know what an Aha! Moment is, right?
With our child, it’s that lightning flash of insight, when suddenly we see things from another perspective, and everything has the potential to be different. This website has Aha! moments for parents of every age child, from pregnancy right through the teen years.”

Janet Lansbury
http://www.janetlansbury.com/
“Raising a child is one the most important and challenging jobs we will ever have. It brings a considerable amount of joy. It can also be confusing, discouraging and haphazard. My goal is to provide clarity, inspiration (and maybe a smile or two) by sharing insights I’ve gained through my parenting classes, my experiences as a mother, and studies with my friend and mentor Magda Gerber. This blog is dedicated to her memory.”

L.R. Knost
www.littleheartsbooks.com
“Sharing gentle parenting tips, articles, and research with parents who want to learn how to connect with their little ones instead of just correcting them. Connect to correct—>gentle, effective, empathetic parenting—>happy, confident, well-mannered children—>joyful, peaceful homes filled with love and laughter.”

Nurshable
http://nurshable.com/
“I publish a variety of things here. Letters to my children explaining different parenting choices that I/we make. Information about breastfeeding, attachment parenting babywearing and other topics that fall into the category of “gentle parenting”, and whatever comes to mind.”

Positive Discipline
http://blog.positivediscipline.com/
“Positive Discipline is a program based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs and designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities. Based on the best selling Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelsen, it teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents, teachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others).”

Gentle parenting is definitely a lifestyle choice – it invites me to be my best self so that I am available to be the parent I want to be for my children. Another great reminder from L.R. Knost:

LRKnost Breathe
Posted by L.R.Knost – Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources on Friday, April 10, 2015

I hope you find the inspiration you need from these wise parents. Choosing to breathe is not necessarily instinctive or easy. It is however, so, so worth it. The parent-child bond is so precious, and they are with us for such a short amount of time in their lifespan. Gentle parenting helps me make the most of that time, and truly treasure our children as the amazing teachers and human beings that they are.

P.S. Huge thanks to our SPB community that inspired this post <3

I’m human, and the struggle is real some days!! HERE is an anecdote about our season of toddler tantrums with Otter – it took a lot of deep breaths to be peaceful those days!!

PPDwildflowers

Preschool Playdate: Wildflowers

Playdate: May 15, 2015
Theme was chosen in honor of Wildflower Week

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— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

Most of the activities this week were inspired by print-outs or songs in The Mailbox Superbook.

STORY TIME
In lieu of a book, we used a song and a discovery activity for the children to explore the growing cycle of a flower.

We talked about the vocabulary first, and then introduced the song.  The third time through, each Sweet Pea got to play a part of the song.  One was the sun, one was the gardener watering, and the remaining children got to be flowers growing in the garden.  We took turns so that each child got to play each part.

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LITERACY CENTER
This is another printout from The Mailbox Superbook – the main point was to develop some motor skills through tracing.  I added a print element to the activity by printing out word strips for the children to cut and paste on their worksheet after tracing the flower shapes.  Crayons, scissors, glue, plus some vocabulary…WIN :)

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MATH CENTER
Sorting and counting…always a good math center!  The children could sort by color, type of leaf, whether the edge was smooth or rippled…and probably more ways than we tried that morning!

An advanced version of this center could be done by making tally marks to track results, and/or plotting a line graph with the results.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This activity is the only one that came from The Toddler Calendar.  Felt sticks to itself, so the only thing I had to do was go buy it.  Aside from cutting their pattern out, I also added a print element by creating labels for all the parts of the flower.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This activity has been bookmarked in The Mailbox Superbook since I first started using it when Puma was 3 years old.  I finally made the time to execute it! Better late than never :)

I used sponges from the dollar store, and cut each color into a different part of the flower.  This was again, a reinforcement of the vocabulary words of the day that centered around the theme: flower, leaf, and stem…no “roots” this time!

 

We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  This morning, the discovery table activity and the arts & crafts activity were the big winners.

We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents that have somewhere to be afterwards have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go – school is over!!  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave will stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives at noon.

 

SPFSept14

Monday Musings: Does labeling make sense?

Ok – true confession #2 on this blog: while I am really great at organizing events, I would hate for anyone to see the messiest room in our home.

It used to be our bedroom. I got that in order so that I could sit at my desk and write notes, and because it REALLY needed to be done.  Aside from the piles of things on the desk, there had been a 6′ banquet table in our bedroom since last November.  It became the collection point for all things around the house that didn’t have a place, and I didn’t want to deal with at the moment that I was picking them up. And it was a disaster…by that I mean that I was using the tabletop *and* the space below it.  I don’t have a picture.  Even if I did, you wouldn’t see it, because I would be too embarrassed to share it. I think you can imagine how terrible it was.

Enter summer vacation.  We got to visit a friend’s new home this summer, and seeing her home completely inspired me to get a handle on the clutter and take back my home.

This mama has practically EVERYTHING in their home labeled.  And not just a label-maker on steriods kind of labeling.  She has taken the time to either hand-write or jetprint tags for every bin or basket in their home.  Then she cuts them out and attaches them to a cute backing paper.  Sometimes it’s a simple pattern-printed or bright color cardstock mat; others are die-cut into cute flower shapes.

All her kiddos have been reading by the time they start kindergarten.  Talk about print-rich environment!!!  Oh My Gosh…lightbulb moment!!  Every day, her children are interacting with letters and words.  It is no surprise that they are reading early – they are tieing physical objects to words every time they take something out or put something away.  I am guessing those letters start to make sense and correlate to sounds after a while, and some very organic learning is going on!!

So when we came back from our summer home, I tackled our bedroom.  I was determined that if this mama could be clutter-free, so could I.  All it takes is a little focus, right?

So my piles disappeared, give-away bags filled up…so did the recycling and the trash.  I made good use of my favorite item at IKEA, these nifty little “S”-shaped hooks to hang up all my bags and clear some shelf space for seasonal clothing items.

Then I hit Otter’s room.  She is the only one still not reading, so I went through and organized all her toys, and then labeled all her boxes and baskets. Next task: label her clothing drawers.

As for the other children,  Puma wants to make her own labels. The boys have labels on their baskets already, courtesy of the embroidery option from PBK.  I will leave their rooms for now, since I have a couple of other rooms in mind…

I  want to label the schoolroom and the kitchen since that is where we spend the most time as a family and both are high-traffic areas for the children.  I also take the time to make every label bi-lingual so that the Sweet Pea Kids are seeing everything in English and Spanish. I have to be patient and double-check all the spellings and accent placements in Spanish. I am giving myself a grace period to get that done – plan is to be close to where I envision by Christmas-time.

Now “that room” is my husband’s office, where there are still 15 boxes of stuff that I haven’t wanted to deal with since we moved our schoolroom last spring.  I promised Puma that we will each do a box a day, and do them together.  She has her own pile of stuff and boxes since she emptied everything in order to move rooms, and we didn’t want to unpack things until her room was painted.  Now it’s painted, so the work of sorting, stashing, and trashing starts on Tuesday.

Wish us luck!! I am looking forward to getting rid of all the boxes, once and for a while, anyway.

What about you? Have you ever thought about labeling around your home? Why did, or didn’t you?

 

PPDmusicday

Preschool Playdate: Music Day

Playdate: May 7, 2015

This playdate was inspired by a book that I wanted to read to the Sweet Peas, and I ended up going a different direction when it was storytime!

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

Our unsquiggle activity this day was also part discovery/physical education/personal expression/confidence building.  I incorporated the hand-kites to help those who were a little shy to at least move something in rhythm to the music they were hearing.

First, I created a playlist of different genres of music, alternating between upbeat and more solemn.  We got to talk about the different countries the music and/or composer was from, as well as the different world cultures as we found the countries on the globe.  We invited each child to dance down the pink line – it was great to see their creativity and imagination.

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STORY TIME + MATH CENTER + MAKE&TAKE

I ended up using a book I had printed back when Puma was a preschooler as our story.  It let me demonstrate the math activity/play home craft I came up with for the day.  You can find the book from Enchanted Learning HERE; the ducks are free clip art from the internet printed on card stock; numbers are from a foam number pack (you can probably find them at your nearest craft or big-box store).

Charger, who was 5 at the time, did this all his own.  He cut out the ducks, glued a popsicle stick to the back of the duck, and affixed the foam numbers to his ducks.  I cut a slit in the paper plates for each of the ducks…this lets the children practice number recognition and ordering.

How we used it all together: Start the song/rhyme with a plate full of ducks.  As you count down the numbers, you pull out the duck from it’s slot.  This give the children a visual of what amount is left, as well as the written numbers as they are pulling them out.

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LITERACY CENTER
This was one of my favorite name activities of all time.  Again, the images are clip art that I found on the internet.  I will do a better job of keeping track of links for next year to save readers who want to repeat these activites some time.

First, I printed out all the music notes, and then I programed them with the letters of all the children’s names – I used silver marker for a little extra pop!  In a pinch, you could use any light-colored crayon or colored pencil.  Next, I cut them out, and placed the right letters in an envelope with their name on it.  The child had to pull out their letter notes, order them, and glue them to the stave paper I had printed for them.  Once they finished, I played their  “composition” for them on the piano.  Some of them actually had some catchy little tunes!!  Or if like Puma, they did everything on one note, I played it for them in the rhythm of the notes.  Either way, you can ask the child if they could copy what they heard with claps or with singing.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This allows for the introduction of vocabulary, as well as the exploration of the different instruments, how they are played, and how they sound.  Some different words to use: percussion, loud, soft, raspy, ringing, clanging, metallic; as well as the names of all of the instruments: drum, xylophone, bells, maracas, tambourines, triangles.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Along with the duck craft, we also had the Sweet Peas bring a shoe-box so that we could make a rubber-band guitar.  HERE are some instructions for a simple version of this craft.  We made it even simpler, as you can see:

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave will stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

PPDScienceDay

Preschool Playdate: Science Day

Held on April 23, 2015

The inspiration for this day was the fact that World Laboratory Day was observed on April 23, 2015.  I thought it would be fun to have the kids attend their own Science Lab and get a chance to be immersed in exploration and discovery for an hour.  I planned out this day by focusing an experiement on different aspects of science: measuring, magnets, animal kingdom, and weather.

As you will notice, most of our Sweet Peas made or contributed to the sign for their station. Puma was at the Water Cycle, Night Owl was at the magnets (I made this one before the kiddos all piped up that they wanted to make their own!), Charger did the Wind Power, and Otter contributed to the Mass sign.  It was cool to see how her lines were denser in some areas than others….she got the concept in her own toddler way!! Even our nanny got involved and ran an activity since I got carried away with the planning…once I got started, I was on a roll!

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

 

STORY TIME
I found THIS slide show online that I printed to share with the children.  Big pictures, simple explanations, and lots of vocabulary!! Perfect for preschool!!

 

LITERACY CENTER
Here we explored the concept of feathers, fur, and scales.  It is an activity out of the Mailbox Superbook. The Sweet Peas identified the animal, and then sorted them into the correct category according to the type of skin covering the animal has.  We added a sensory component by having examples of the different kinds of skin coverings for the children to investigate and discuss.

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MATH CENTER
This center explored the mass of different items.  They measured different quantities into the scale basket, noticed whether or not the same amount of different items weighed the same,We also had them make a prediction about how much the half-full bean container and the full container of feathers would weigh, and which was greater.  This led to a conversation about how much air vs. mass were in the different things we weighed.

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DISCOVERY TABLE

TABLE 1: Magnets
Sweet Peas got to play with magnetic fishing poles to see what was and wasn’t magnetic.  Once they items were worted into two piles, we talked about the qualities of both sets.

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TABLE 2: The Water Cycle
This simple experiment using water and cotton balls allowed the Sweet Peas to physically experience how water droplets collect together to form clouds until they are too full to hold any more condensation, and then see how precipitation happens when the cloud is beyond capacity.  We introduced the words “evaporation”, “condensation”, and “precipitation”.  It was neat to see everyone at this station have lightbulb moments.IMG_5520

TABLE 3: Wind Power
The Sweet Peas got to experiement with the power of air at this station.  First they blew through the straws onto their palms to feel what they could do with their own lungs.  Then they got to experiment with blowing “wind” across our little “pond” to see how the boats moved.  They could blow along the bottom, the top, turn the sails and blow into the sails…another favorite since water and straws were involved.IMG_5519

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
First the Sweet Peas colored a coffee filter with water-soluble markers.  Then we attached the filter accordian style to a prepared-ahead popsicle stick on which Puma had a hot-glued a pipe cleaner.  We twisted it at the top and formed antennae.  Once the “butterfly” was assembled, we used water that we trapped in the straws with our fingers to stain the wings.  The Sweet Peas got to experiement with how much water they could trap, how fast the flow was, and see how the colors blended and make predictions about the new colors that might result from the color blending.  Once the “wings” dried out, they had a take-home butterfly puppet.

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  There were lots of different favorites on this day…even some of the moms mentioned stations where they learned something new – that was pretty cool!

We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave right away will stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

I hpe you enjoyed our tour through Science Experiement day!! My intention was to show our friends that science doesn’t have to be this daunting thing – every day things around the house can easily turn into an opportunity for discovery, and to awaken curiosity and exploration.