Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ice Bones

Lots of great imaginative play going on today with all the big chunks of ice. 

(*the videos were an experiment and they don't seem to play with sound, but they sure are cute!)



Carving the bones into art.

A Sheep.




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bean Bags, Boxes and Tubes.

The boxes have been arriving on a regular basis as I prepare for Christmas. I have been taping them back up with packing tape and adding them to the block area without any real discussion.  Last week two kids had created a whole factory type set up. They were involved in a game that they called "delivery."  The kids have also enjoyed stacking the boxes as high as they can before they tip over.

On Thursday, I found myself with a total of four boys (half our daily group) and a very cold day. I pulled out the bean bags, without really knowing what we were going to do. I decided to set up targets with the boxes and tubes.  Who doesn't love to throw things and knock things over?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Rope Game

On Thursday I heard a giggles echoing across the playground. I wasn't sure about the game I was seeing at first. Once I observed for a few minutes I realized it was full of cooperation.

 I love seeing the kids organize games on their own, by chance. I think this game started because there was not enough room for everyone to "swing." I was impressed by the give and take that was going on between a group of kids that aren't usually a unit. This game continued for at least fifteen minutes, with them switching places without even discussing it. 

Check out these videos to see it in action. 

Did you notice how in this video the kids are not even actually bumping the kids in back?

I'm sure this game will return in the future. 

We also had a lot of fun playing on a frozen puddle that we found. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Special of the Day: Drawing Lessons

*My apologies to those that are seeing this a second time. The original post got deleted.

Special of the Day

Several times over the last couple years I have thought about incorporating "specials of the day," like they have in the "big school." I was never sure how to incorporate it, what to include or if I would actually follow through. I was very surprised when I visited Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, during my visit to Washington D.C. that they do something similar. After seeing it a bit in action and hearing more about it, I decided when I got back to try it out on a very basic level. I decided it would work better for us to rotate several activities through the days of the week, so that part time kids would not miss out on certain "specials."  I choose each morning from the remaining cards which we will do that day, based on the group of kids and what their interests have been. I show them the card at circle time and explain what it means for that day. The activity is something we usually do during circle or directly after. They are usually things that we will do all together as a group, but occasionally they are done with smaller groups. 

After we have gone through all the cards, then we will start over again.  This is not to say that many of these things are not going on every day, but this is a special time to stop and focus as a group and encourage children to participate in something that they may often skip. 

So far we have done Instruments, Messy (clay), Dance, Yoga and today was Art.

Drawing Lessons 

We have been examining bird books since they arrived from the library last week. At circle time today I simply showed them a very basic shape of a bird that I found here. I simplified the directions to make it less confusing. I told them that this was one way to draw a bird and they could change the parts to make it the way they wanted (ex. longer legs, beaks, etc). 

I explained that they could add other features to their pictures, that showed where the birds were and what they were doing.  I called them to the table a couple children at a time and gave them a black crayon to draw their birds. After they were finished with the outline, they moved on to the colors. I never once had to prompt them to keep drawing or add more details. I just walked away from the table after I handed them the colored crayons. They all saw the same drawing and yet each picture was so full of individuality and creativity.

I'm not sure who was more amazed and proud of their end products, them or me. I know that my words and responses were far from praise, but simply my pure reaction to pieces of real art. I don't doubt that they knew I was sincere when I said things like, "Oh! THAT is so beautiful. You worked really hard on those details." 

The Four Year Old's Drawings

Even the two and three year old rushed over when I told them that is was their turn to draw their birds.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Scarves and Sticks

A couple weeks ago, I brought our scarves outside on a breezy day. They ran with them for two minutes and then handed them back to me.  I think it is easy to give up on a material if children don't seem interested. I was a little disappointed at first that they had already lost interest. 

I tied one to the end of a stick and handed it to a smaller child who was playing alone.  I didn't really know why. I just thought it would help him carry it without it dragging on the ground.

Within minutes of noticing him, the rest of the children were bringing me sticks and 
asking for me to tie the scarves on. 

The imaginary play that took place for the next thirty to forty minutes was priceless. They were knights, mermaids, fairy-capturers, and many other roles. 
The best part though was that they were all playing as a group. 

I realized that they needed a little nudge or suggestion on what to do and then they took it and let their imaginations run wild.

Here are some of the other ways that we have enjoyed these scarves in the past. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

A short story.

Once upon a time...

There was a Rainbow Ninja

She had a friend.... the Mermaid Queen

They met a Cowboy.

 And they all became friends.

...probably not "The End"


*It is days like this that I simply love sitting back and watching them play. Today I am thankful for a great zoom that allows me to catch these moments without the children knowing. I am still not sure of the adventures that were taking place, but friendships were reinforced and smiles were made. 

I am also thankful for the creators of Fafu toys, who understand children and have created these amazing open-ended quality play materials to spark imaginations. The costumes and characters were one of a kind!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

REAL Bones

It has been another busy week of studying bones. We were very fortunate to have some great specimens to see up close and personal. Thank you to the families who let us borrow items and donated their time. This has truly been a fabulous unit and the children and I have learned so much!

Bear, coyote and bobcat.

Chicken Bones.


This child is holding a part of a VERY old walrus tusk. You can also see two walrus teeth and a whisker. The skull in the back is another bear.