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ppdfallfun

Preschool Playdate: Fall Fun

THEME: First day of Fall
Play date: September 22, 2016

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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

 

STORY TIME
This is a treasure from a Scholastic book box I purchased early in our homeschool days.  I like this book because each page has a bold call out that can be read as an easy reader, and in regular font there is more detail for the child that is ready to read/learn more about the topic.

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LITERACY CENTER
Letters:  F-A-L-L and A-U-T-U-M-N

Lots of opportunity for play and learning today:
Level 1: Talk about uppercase and lowercase letters. Have the child find the letter cards that match the words.

Level 2: Scramble the letters for one word and have the child line them up with the corresponding card.

Level 3: Scramble the letters for 2-3 of the words and have the child line them up with the corresponding cards.

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MATH CENTER
Magnet Leaves – Fishing for pairs 1-6

I was inspired to create this center by the magnet lessons I have been doing with Otter and Charger. They love “fishing” with their magnet fishing poles.  So I took some of our fabric leaves that could withstand the wear and tear of continual use and paired them with a number. I try to incorporate print as much as I can when we do centers, so aside from the number I also wrote the name of the number on the circle. One set is in English, the other is in Spanish.

With more time and/or if you have the storage space, you could make more pieces and some game boards that have a leaf outline on them and numbered leaves. Instead of lining them up in a row, they could be matched to the corresponding spot on a game board.

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The other activity we did was half discovery, half math.  We hid ten “acorns” in the leaves.  Then we gave the children rakes to dig through and find as many acorns as they could find. They got to count the acorns and then hide them again for the next sweet pea.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Leaf rubbing

We used the age-old and oft enjoyed crayon rubbing art idea to explore leaves. First you get the sensory experience of rubbing: it has a feel and a sound to it.  Then there is the magical aspect of creating art that “magically” appears.

What I noticed yesterday and pointed out to the older children was the difference between our desert plant leaves and those that are pictured in most books about leaves.  Our water-deprived desert leaves and small and/or long and thin, and many are spiky. Looking at the picture books that feature trees of the more temperate forest climates, we can see that those leaves are bigger and come in many more varieties. They could make the connection that the more water is available, the larger the leaf size.

Another reason I like this as a discovery table for toddlers is that once the papers are finished, we can look and talk about similarities and differences using their art instead of the more fragile leaves.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Leaf necklace idea is from Kiwi Crate

One of the things I love about doing crafts with young children is that it provides an opportunity for organic learning. “How many leaves do you want in your necklace?” ” Can you count out “x” number of leaves?” “What color bead is going to be first?” “Which color would you like next?”

All this on top of the fact that you are working to improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as inviting them to use their imagination. The different textures of the materials also help stimulate their senses…no wonder this is one of my favorite stations to pull together each week.

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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

 

SPFquoteJune13

Monday Musings: Struggles

“Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never gave up despite the struggles.”
~Sharon Jaynes

This quote takes on a whole new meaning today as I think of all the mothers who will go forward without their sons and daughters after the tragedy in Orlando. There are not enough words to express our deep sorrow.

In today’s image-driven society, it is easy to set ourselves an impossible standard portrayed by filtered pictures that show the best of our moments with our children.

I love this meme that has been making the rounds on social media:

HOTMESS

http://pin.it/fO4RF9G

As the popular saying goes, the struggle is real. Some of us struggle with being on time. Others, organization. Some, our temper. Others, mood disorders. Some, with self-esteem. Others, self-acceptance. And the list goes on and on.

The point is, you are not alone. I am not alone. Somewhere, someone is struggling with the same inner demons that you are facing. Take comfort in the fact that even though we don’t all want to admit it, we are all hiding something.

What matters more is how we go above and beyond that to do our best for our children. Are we providing a safe place for them? Are we recognizing their needs? Are we responding to them?

We won’t get it right all the time. We can strive to do better; resolve to show them the best that we have to give more often than not.

I truly believe that if we operate from a place of love, we will make the right decisions for our family. A parent that makes decisions from a place of love for their child will make decisions that are best for their family.

And by the same token, we must also allow ourselves a measure of grace. For we are only human, and it is impossible to be at our best all of the time. Inevitably the pressures of “adulating”, the fatigue of trying to do too much in too few hours, the stress of daily life will sometimes crowd out our best intentions to show up as whole, patient humans raising other humans.

So today I invite you to name one small thing, just one, that you can strive for today. What is one small way that you can do best by your children and your family today? Then go for it! Do it, and go to sleep tonight with the satisfaction that you did one thing right today. Even if it was just keeping everyone alive for the day – it was worth it.

I leave you with these closing thoughts:

https://goo.gl/ZF07yF

CLEANHOUSE

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/174936766748325198/

 

 

SPFquoteJune6

Monday Musings: On Parenting

“Being a parent is not about what you give up to have a child, but what you have gained from having one.”

Bruss and I just completed our 24th and 25th Bradley ™ series over the weekend. What a wonderful and exciting time for all of our students as many of them embark on parenthood for the very first time!!

For the last segment of our final class in the series, we each share our thoughts on “being mom” and “being dad”. Here are some things we share with our students about what is gained from becoming a parent:

1.) Your greatest teacher.
Each child that joins your family is unique, individual, and will require you to parent them in a particular way. If you take the time to watch them and listen to them, they will share some amazing insights and open your mind in ways that you never knew were possible. We aim to parent them in such way that honors them as smaller humans capable of experiencing and expressing their thoughts and emotions.

Their statements, actions, and questions allow us to be constantly evolving as parents. We have learned so much about ourselves, and how to be individual parents to each child, just by following their cues.

2.) The opportunity to be curious.
One of the best pieces of advice I received as a newlywed was from the mother of adopted children. She stated that her children were free of pressure to “be this” or “do that” because she and her husband had no way of imposing their expectations on them based purely on genetics. I resolved then and there to allow our children the same opportunity to be themselves, even though we are genetically related. Hence the curiosity: what is their talent, their gift, their calling??  Our statement to them is that we hope to help them find their calling, whatever it may be, and then support them 110% in their pursuit of their passions so that they can glorify God in their way with their gifts.

3.) The opportunity to play.
There are some places that are great to revisit as parents: the floor and the park. We take the opportunity to sit on the floor with our kiddos and play with our children. Not all the time, and not for their entire playtime, just when it works out. If it’s a super-busy day and our children want to play, I will say yes, for “x” minutes I can stop what I am doing and play with you.

We can also visit the park and play with our children. Maybe we won’t get on all the features of a playset; we do however push them on the swings or run around a little with them. And when we can, we do clamber up after them on the ladders and slide down the slides – it’s all in good fun.

4.) The opportunity to become a better version of yourself.
Being a parent is so much this. We try not to fall into old patterns that we learned from our own experience as children. Instead, we see the opportunity to decide what kind of parent we want to be, and do that. Whether it’s trying something new to set a good example, to being brave in situations you would usually avoid, to basic things like yelling less and laughing more, there are ways we can strive to be a better person every day.

5.) The truest love you will ever know.
One of my favorite movie moments is from the film, “Maleficent”. After sixteen years of protecting and growing to love the child, it is Maleficent’s kiss that breaks the curse she spoke to Sleeping Beauty.

The love I have for our children is fierce, protecting and caring. It wants to hold them tight and at the same time give the wings they need to fly. I hope that despite all the mistakes I have made and will make as a parent, our children will know that they are loved. The moments I treasure are the contented sighs in their sleep, their sleepy faces in my arms, the little hands reaching for mine when we are out for reassurance and safety, the spontaneous laughter around the kitchen table when we have “a moment” …those little moments make my heart swell to bursting.

While I love my husband to pieces, it is different to love and adult and to love a child. He is my lover, they are my beloveds. I am grateful for the opportunity to love them all.

 

So those are five things I feel I have gained from the opportunity to be a parent – how about you? What is something you have gained from having children?

PPDspringflowers

Preschool Playdate: Flowers

Playdate: March 24, 2016
Theme: Spring Flowers

— 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: passed around seeds and plants for children to observe
— Storytime: Book from Enchanted Learning.com
— Unsquiggle activity: growing plants

Unsquiggle: after the children got to see the seed, roots growing, first leaves, and flowers, we invite them to act out the growth cycle.  They ball themselves up into little seeds, start shooting roots, then stem, leaves and flowers. A parent or another child can be the sun shining and the water falling from the sky or a watering can.  Whoever is the water can visit each child individually and water them to grow. (Idea from Mailbox Superbook)

STORY TIME
We used a book we made when Puma was a preschooler. It shows all the stages of growing from seed to plant, and you can print your own copy HERE at Enchanted Learning.com.

We passed around these samples for the children to look at and get to experience the live version of what they were seeing on the page.

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LITERACY CENTER
This was a fun activity to put together. I was trying to incorporate uppercase and lowercase letters, and then it occurred to me that each letter could also be a color of the rainbow.  I decided to add a little Spanish into the color identification games.

Level 1: Match the colors

Level 2: Match the letters in the same case (Uppercase to uppercase)

Level 3: Match the letters to the opposite case (Uppercase to lowercase)

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MATH CENTER
This was a number correspondence game. The children would place the correct number of buttons in the corresponding basket. The game could be played with random placement, or with instructions like, “same color”, “same size”, or, “make a pattern”.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This is a felt activity where children could play with the arrangement of the flower parts and also identify the print words. A parent can ask a younger preschool to turn the letters the correct way. If the child is already sounding out, they could start to read the words.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take

This is a print activity.  You could use paint or ink – we opted for paint this time.  I didn’t lay out any “sample” with this activity…simply put out the sponge shapes and plates of color and waited to see what would happen. As you can see, there were lots of ideas on how to make flowers.

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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.

Stop in next week to see all the fun we have exploring caterpillars and butterflies today.

 

PPDcarnival

Preschool Playdate: Carnival!

Play date: February 25th
In honor of Carnival Day

— 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: What is a carnival? Children+Parents named some of the different places they had been to a carnival.
— Storytime: Manner Monster
— Centers
— Poem/Song before we say goodbye

 

STORY TIME
I searched high and low on our bookshelves for a story with a carnival theme, or even a mention of going to a carnival.  For once, they came up short!! I could have used one of our word dictionary books…however, this provided a great opportunity to share a book I bought with playdates in mind, The Do’s and Don’ts by Hayley Rose.  I marked the pages that would work as basic guidelines for a safe carnival experience and shared those, rather than reading through the whole book.

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Before breaking for centers, we also shared an tumbling show with our guests. All our homeschoolers take tumbling classes, so they threw together a quick little routine to perform for our guests.  The Sweet Peas were kind enough to show their appreciation by yelling, “More!” when we turned off the music – my big kids were tickled pink!

LITERACY CENTER
What’s a carnival without a fishing game?? I chose six letters that the children had seen over the last few months.  The game/pieces are from Discovery Toys, and the letter magnets are from Lakeshore Learning. The sweet peas could fish for lowercase letters and then match them to the correct uppercase letter.

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MATH CENTER
This was inspired by the ring toss games on the carnival midway.  I modified a cookie game from Lakeshore Learning (it was a big hit when we did our Cookie Playdate). So I decided to give it a reprise as today’s counting game, and also incorporate colors and shapes…hence the Cookie Toss!
Level 1: Practice gross motor skills and simply toss cookies on the plate.
Level 2: Roll the dice and count out the cookies to throw
Level 3: Roll, count, and then name the color and shape on the plate where the cookie landed

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DISCOVERY TABLE
We had three “discovery” centers today:
TUMBLING
Puma and Otter helped the kiddos with some basic tumbling – Otter demonstrated and Puma coached.  They taught our guests spider walks, stoop jumps, somersaults, and straddle rolls.

 

BEAN BAG TOSS
This was another gross motor skill activity. We stacked up some of our upcycled tins and created a stacking tower with them.  The kiddos took turns throwing a bean bag at the tower to see how many they could knock over with one throw.  The can-counting also gave us the opportunity to work in some math :)

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FEED THE DOG
I pulled out this game with all the “in the basket” games that are prominent on carnival midways.  This was a no-pressure fun way to get the bones in the dog’s mouth – no tossing involved!  The sweet peas could use the tweezers to work on fine motor skills, or simply pick up the bones with their fingers and put them in front of the stuffed pup or inside the dog’s mouth.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
There was no planned craft today – I had a couple of ideas that I just didn’t get around to executing.  I always have art paper and art supplies around the house.  The group very organically started grabbing sheets of paper and drawing supplies and before I knew it, there was a gaggle of children on the floor having the best time drawing!!

It was a good reminder for me: simple can be enough!!

 

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 several favorites today: tumbling, bean bag toss, feed the dog, and fishing were all named more than once.

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.

We are taking a two-week break from hosting playdates while we enjoy our Spring Break!  Join me the next couple of Thursdays for a peek inside our vacations at Disneyland + Legoland.  I will take the time to blog about how amazing both theme parks are for our gluten-free family.

PPDblackhistorymonth

Preschool Playdate: Black History Month

Play date: February 18, 2016
Inspiration: Black History Month

— 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: we talked about how even today, people are talking about excluding people due to the color of their skin or their religion:
— Storytime: Our Children Can Soar by Michelle Cook

STORY TIME
This is my second year sharing this book – still can’t read it without having my voice crack. I can’t help but think of what it must have been like for these tremendous people who had the courage to face discrimination, hatred, and even violence to assert their basic humanity, and the right to equitable treatment under the law and from their fellow human.

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LITERACY CENTER
This year I chose for all the cards to tie to the characters in the book.  We split the cards and the letters between two tables so the kiddos could do two letter stations and explore a little more about the historical figures mentioned in the book.  I also highlighted the first letter of the name that they were looking to match to make it a little easier to locate the letter.

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MATH CENTER
This was a neat find – the inventor of the golf tee is from one of the towns I lived in as a child – Oswego, New York!! This idea is from Preschool Plan-it: using golf tees in styrofoam, and then having the kiddos balance pom-poms on the top.  The Sweet Peas got to practice counting as well as fine motor skills if they used the tweezers.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This little chemistry experiment was an homage to the great African-American chemist, George Washington Carver.  We didn’t use peanuts or sweet potatoes, but we did use a vegetable: red cabbage.  Red cabbage can be used to test for acids.  After soaking in boiling water, it turns to water purple.  If any acid is mixed into the solution, it will turn varying shades of pink.

The Sweet Peas had fun guessing which items would turn the water pink, testing their hypothesis, and then finding out what in fact, is and isn’t acid.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This is another inspiration from Preschool Plan-it: mixing shaving cream and glue so that the art work is permanent.  It actually has a really cool spongy texture.  Mixing the glue, shaving cream, and food coloring was a fun activity in and of itself!

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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.  This morning, there were three popular centers: the math, the art, and the discovery centers were all mentioned with equal enthusiasm.

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.

Join us next week for a peek into our carnival-inspired playdate!!

PPDrestaurant

Preschool Playdate: Restaurant

May 21, 2015
Theme chosen in honor of National Waiter/Waitress Day

— 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: we talked about eating at a restaurant, asked if any of the mommies had ever waited tables, and the kinds of things we see in a restaurant: tables, chairs, food, cash register, menus, etc.
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

 

STORY TIME
We took the opportunity to introduce the concept of money this playdate…because waiters and waitresses need to make change!

As the book introduced different values of coins, we passed around the oversize coins that we use in our own homeschool math center.

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LITERACY CENTER
We introduced the concept of vowels in May – so here is another activity that takes advantage of matching letters to sounds.  I selected five foods that started with each of the vowel letters: apple, egg, ice cream, oatmeal or “O’s”, and unagi (a type of sushi).

Level 1: Name+Match the letter magnets

Level 2: Match the letter magnet to the beginning sound of the food item.

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MATH CENTER
This was a shape-match center today! We put out the matching egg activity that was gifted to Puma for her first Christmas (the set is almost 11 years old now!).  We also pulled out a pancake-plate matching activity. The brown circles represent pancakes – the Sweet Peas would use the spatula to put them on the plate with the corresponding shape.

Level 1: Match shapes

Level 2: Match & name the shapes

Level 3: Sort the pancake shapes, and then count them as they are placed on the plates.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
We put out the oversize shaped coins, along with actual coins. The sweet peas could interact with both the teaching and the actual money.

Level 1: Sort them into matching piles + introduce the concept of value

Level 2: Count how many coins are in each pile

Level 3: Add up the value of the money

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Each Sweet Pea got to make their own apron to use during imaginative play time.  We used hole reinforcers to make the hole-punched paper stronger, and used a thin craft yarn for the ties.

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After the kiddos finished their aprons and we cleaned up the stations, the Sweet Peas played restaurant. We pulled out the play cash registers, food, and kitchen so that they could take orders, prepare, and serve foods to the mommies.  I made visual order forms so that the children could see the written words for the food that the mommies were ordering.

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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.

 

PPDunderthesea

Preschool Playdate: Under the Sea

Preschool Playdate: Under the Sea

The inspiration from this theme came from a toy set!  I love the “Toob” toys, and finding this set on sale at a craft store led to a lot of fun on April 16, 2015.

Getting Started:
We start with the same order of circle time activities every week:

— 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
Double story-time again this week.  We started with a Richard Scarry Page to see if the Sweet Peas could identify the plastic boats.
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Instead of a traditional story, I marked the pages in our “Encyclopedia of Animals” by DK Readers, that corresponded with the plastic animals in the toy tube.  I started by asking the children to name the animal in English, then I told them the Spanish name, and we read out a fact about each animal.

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LITERACY CENTER
Play dough is always a big hit.  THIS is the recipe I use from Imagination Tree.  The children had to find their “fish” hanging on the “fishing line” attached to the activity table.  Then they could work on writing their names using playdough.  There are lots of options here: shape the letter, roll out thin “strings” of dough to “write” the letters, or they could roll out a “clay tablet” and scratch their names into the dough.  That activity in particular led to a discussion about how the earliest writing was similarly recorded in Sumer.

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MATH CENTER
Fishing for numbers!! The fish all have a magnet on them.  We are using a Discovery Toys game base, and wooden fish from assorted sets we have collected through the years.  Each of the fish was programmed with a number from 1-5. Sweet Peas would “fish” out a number, and then place it on the corresponding number on their game card.  Most of the cards are also programmed with the correct number of bubbles above the written number.  I thought of that *after* I made the first one.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Water, water, everywhere.  This activity reinforced identifying the animals we read about as they pulled them out of the water.  We also worked on motor skills as they used the tongs or slotted spoons to pull them out.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
I used a printable from The Mailbox Superbook for today’s craft.  This allowed for a little “painting” as they spread a thin coat of glue on their outling, then fine motor skills as they placed the tissue, and then cutting after the glue dired to make a neat “stained glass” decoration – our Sweet Peas enjoyed seeing the light come through their creations.

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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 right away will stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives at noon.

ppdgardening

Preschool Playdate: Gardening

Preschool Playdate: How does your garden grow?

We built this theme around spring planting.  The playdate was on April 9, 2015.  We got to watch our seeds grow through the month of April.  As soon as the kiddos arrived, they would go check on the progress of their “garden”.

You will notice that there was a lot of dirt involved in today’s theme!  Drop cloths were the order of the day.  We also needed lots of damp cloth wipes on hand for all the kiddos that don’t necessarily like their hands dirty.

— 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 feel it is important that children understand where their food comes from. The two books we shared this day emphasize the idea of “farm to table”.  We used the “The story of seeds” by Richard Scarry to start off our discussion of the theme.  During Story Time, I read the Spanish translation of “Growing Vegetable Soup” by Lois Ehlert.

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LITERACY CENTER
The children could use the popsicle stick or their fingertips to draw letters in the dirt.  I tried to make mud – didn’t work out so well.  We scaled this from the first letter of their name for beginners; kiddos with more writing skills could write their whole name.  I always lay out all the names so that the Sweet Peas have to find their name, which reinforces name recognition.  It’s amazing how this becomes their first “reading” activity – after several months of finding their own name, they can also recognize their friends’ names.

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MATH CENTER
Vegetable counting today! The printouts are free line drawings from the internet.  I printed them on cardstock and laminated them for durability.

Level 1: Parents order the baskets and have the Sweet Peas count out the number of vegetables that match.

Level 2: Children order the baskets and count out the vegetables that match.

Options: Have the child sort vegetables and fill their baskets with only one kind of vegetable, or create a pattern as they place them on the numbered card.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
There were two activities today:
Make and Take: planting grass seeds to water and grow at home

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Gardening: Playing in the dirt and planting beansIMG_5382

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was another free line drawing from the internet; printed on yellow paper.  The Sweet Peas could plant as many sunflower seeds as they wanted to onto their picture.

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ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY: Seed Match
These are tiny containers from the dollar store.  I am addicted to these – so handy for lots of different things, especially making games!  I printed pictures of the mature plant on the lids.  The Sweet Peas could match by lid, by seed if they flipped them over to see the clear side; or you could play by having one half turned up and one half turned over, and then check your matching.

It also allowed the opportunity to talk about the size of the seeds and the size of the grown plant.

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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 – planting was the big hit on this day.

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.

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Preschool Playdate: Red Cross Day

Every March since World War II, the president of the USA declares March, “Red Cross Month”.  We focused on the Health and Safety aspect of the Red Cross mission:

From their website:
“The Red Cross is the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training. Each year, more than 9 million Americans participate in our training programs, including first responders, educators, babysitters, and people who want to be prepared to help others in an emergency.”

Read more about the Red Cross HERE

How we start our play dates:
— 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
This week, I read a Spanish translation of a story from “The Best Storybook Ever” by Richard Scarry.  It focuses on several safety rules that every Sweet Pea should be familiar with.

  • Cross the street at the cross walk.
  • Do not throw objects at others – you could hurt them.
  • Do not push people around – no one likes bullies.
  • Do not ever play around deep water – there might not be anyone around to rescue you.
  • Do not stick your head out of the window of a moving vehicle.
  • Do not chase a ball into the street.
  • Play on your sidewalk or your yard – never in the street.
  • Do not ever go anywhere with someone you do not know.
  • Be on your best behavior when you are a passenger in a car.
  • Above all, do not ever take a crocodile home – they might bite you!

Spanish story:
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English book:
I believe it’s called “Officer Montey of Monaco” in the English edition.
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LITERACY CENTER
The starting point for this activity came out of The Mailbox Superbook.  I printed out their “Alphabet Soup” page on cardstock, and then I put it inside a page protector so that we could reuse the pages.

Option 1:
Trace the letters with a dry erase marker, then erase them with our home-made erasers.  I worked in the cotton balls that we had at the Discovery Table and the Arts&Crafts station in our literacy station, too!

Option 2:
Match the “soup” letters to the letters on the page.  These are alphabet soup pasta letters from Trader Joe’s.

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MATH CENTER
For this center, I adjusted the commonly known use of dice to teach counting to fit our theme.  Instead of plastic counters, we used cotton ear swabs into this activity.  This served to reinforce the vocabulary of the items they would see at the Discovery Table and the Arts&Crafts station.

Level 1:
Roll 1 die, count out cotton swabs to match the dots on the die.

Level 2:
Roll 2 dice, count out the cotton swabs to match the sum.  Parents reinforce addition by saying the sums out loud.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
We put out all manner of play animals and medical supplies to let the children explore, learn and use vocabulary, and be doctors and/or veterinarians – which ever role they identified with.

  • Antiseptic cream
  • Bandage
  • Bulb
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Gauze
  • Gloves
  • Patient
  • Prescription
  • Otoscope (to look in ears)
  • Stethoscope
  • Syringe
  • Thermometer
  • Vial

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
The Sweet Peas got to make a First Aid Kit to take home and continue the play after our play date.  This idea came from The Toddler Calendar.
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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.

I hope you enjoyed the tour through our Red Cross Day.  The biggest hit, if you can believe it, was erasing with the clothespin-cotton ball eraser!

 

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