COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

September 29, 2014
by countryfun
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What Makes Green?

Preschooler knows colors, so reinforce knowledge of color blending using 3 primary colors.

Expose the under 3′s to colors and names.

As the leaves start to change colors around here, it’s a perfect time to start playing with colors. We started today with the question “What makes GREEN?“ (I had out a jug of red, yellow and blue paint waiting to see what they would say.) “YELLOW and BLUE!”

I poured their choices next to each other onto a plate (equal amounts) and started to swirl them together. (I wanted the children to see the green happening.) When they saw green they got excited. Once mixed completely I asked if they liked the color we now had. “No it’s blue, not green.” “What do you think we need to do to get our green?” “Add yellow!”

A touch more yellow and mix. “Do you like this green?” “Yes.”

Now to use our green paint.

Love adding sensory into activities, so we painted a palm with green paint and stamped our palms down on a large piece of green construction paper (I had precut into an circular/oval shape). Once no longer leaving color when stamped down, we repainted the palms, repeating until paper covered with hand prints.

Time to glue on a brown rectangle of construction paper and for more sensory – crumple up small squares of red tissue paper and glue onto the green handprints.

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What do you have?

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Apple trees!

Very timely for our area with the U-pick orchards open for the season.

September 19, 2014
by countryfun
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Math with Gourds

We include math concepts naturally in our everyday activities here, but I also like to pull out and really focus on math at times.

A friend surprised me with 20 gourds over the weekend. She figured I’d find ways to use them with the children here. She probably didn’t think I’d work on counting, number awareness and developing an understanding of place value.

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I started out adapting a ten frame thinking the children could place gourds in each frame box counting as they did. Having the number symbol present would reinforce number recognition.

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Then we ran out of numbered sections, but still had gourds left. What to do? DSC05462

The children had the answer – “Write more numbers.”

Out came another large sheet of paper and another ten frame sectioned off. This time I added in the numbers with the children counting. I did it as 1 to 10, but when I got to ten I asked how many sheets of paper we had. Answer 2. If each paper had 10 numbers on it that meant we had 2 groups of 10. That means we have 20 sections. I wrote the 0 and put the 2 in front to show the 2 groups of ten , 20.

I then went back and added 1 in front of all the other numbers talking about this meant 1 group of ten and we were adding on the extra number over that. We compared the number for each sheet in order to reinforce numerical order. We then counted 11 to 20. Then we counted 1 to 20. DSC05464 DSC05466 Time to fill in sections with the gourds. More counting.DSC05467 DSC05469 DSC05470

Interest still there, so let’s try some sorting. I let the children group the gourds together encouraging similar ones in the same line.

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Expanding further I lined out charts and the children glued down circles representing colors found on the gourds.

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Each gourd was picked off it’s number, colors checked and dots placed on the chart. Observation and charting are easy science skills to work into activities with children. DSC05480

September 18, 2014
by countryfun
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Beans! Not Apples

It’s Fall and that means the apple orchards around our area are open for pick your own, cider and many apple goodies. It also means I’ve gathered many appropriate apple lesson ideas – ready to pull together as indicated. This year however, apples seem to be of little interest just now.

Since I believe in taking advantage of what we are involved in and where the children lead me we found ourselves setting up a simple bean growing activity today. Most would have this in the Spring, but we now have a jar with sprouting beans on the south facing windowsill.

How did this happen?

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A Canadian cold front means there might be a frost tonight, so my young helpers and I headed to the garden to gather some of the warmer weather fruit still growing. We harvested the bell peppers, remaining tomatoes, watermelons and dill.

The children asked about the beans and seeing many dried on the bean tower we gathered those too. We needed mashed potatoes for lunch, so I dug up one end of our potato row to see what we might find. Digging potatoes is fun with children as it’s always a surprise.

The children wanted to know what I’d be doing with the dried beans, so I asked if they wanted to help me shell them explaining that shelling meant we needed to open the dried bean pods and find the beans inside. I had 2 excited helpers.

shellingWe sat outside shelling, counting, finding beans that popped into the grass, and exploring the different textures. While shelling we found some beans that had started to sprout in the pod. Throw them into the compost basket or opportunity for additional learning?…..

Now we also had to put the good dried beans away for later use. Taking advantage of this opportunity – fine motor, volume, auditory/sounds, language, math……

Beans, Beans, Beans from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

We have beans on the windowsill that we’ll be following, so guess that answered the compost or additional learning question. :)

grow

 

September 2, 2014
by countryfun
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Pumpkins! Have We Got Pumpkins!

This year the pumpkin patch went just a bit crazy. We’ve had fun watching them grow over the summer. In checking over the weekend I found that about half the pumpkins had unexpected rotten spots. Those got left for the wildlife and the rest I harvested. They look nice lined up on the side porch where hopefully they will cure and be ready for passing out in Oct.

However, one had a couple of worms in the stem, so I decided it would be fun to explore it today before it rotted. What’s a little more heat in the kitchen on this steamy morning.

We’ll end up with roasted chunks for eating, puree for later use in soups and baked goods, and the best……roasted, slightly salted seeds for snacking!

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Top that off with all the spontaneous learning:

  • pumpkin life cycle
  • size comparison
  • sensory exploration
  • language development – huge, smooth, bumpy, sticky, wet……
  • counting
  • “P” and sound – other “P” words
  • fine motor
  • plant needs and parts
  • team work/cooperation
  • developing attention span
  • problem solving

August 29, 2014
by countryfun
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“You Do Assessments?”

As part of Quality of ME I have to do assessments to document progress of the children developmentally. When parents become aware of this the following conversation is common.

  • “What kind of tests do you do?”
  • “I don’t test.”
  • “How do you do assessments then?”
  • “Daily observations. Developmental checklists. Samples of coloring, writing. Video/photos of speech and play.”
  • “What do you do with this information?”

At that time I explain about the private eportfolios I have for each family of children not yet in school.

Collecting samples and checklists are easy to understand, but the daily observations is less clear. Here is what I consider daily observations:

Daily observations are just me watching, listening and internally comparing what I see happening within the space, between children, in different situations and gaining individual skills. To support what I’m witnessing I also take many photos and videos. (You see just a small amount shared through posts on the blog or on Facebook.) I also specifically look for skills that I expect to see developing and/or we have been working on.

What I love doing is taking what I think of as snapshots of a moment. It’s as simple as just snapping a view of the space at one time, seeing what everyone is engaged in at the same time/same place. I can then make notes about what was seen and heard.

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Why are assessments like this important?

  1. They support the choice in routine, rules and equipment available for the child directed play.
  2. It helps direct materials I might add in or remove from the space.
  3. It leads me to research areas where I need more knowledge or want current information.
  4. It supports the communication between myself and parents to best provide for each child.
  5. It guides lessons that occur throughout our daily activities.

August 13, 2014
by countryfun
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It’s Mine!

The following piece was copied in it’s entirety (photo changed) from No More Worksheets in 2011 and has been posted here multiple times. It so simply and completely expresses the reality of young children. I must admit it brings a smile to my face every time I read it. Think it’s time to post again with the younger group that will be here now.

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by Leslie Sausage  in Property Law from a Young Child’s Perspective

by Leslie Sausage  in Social Skills,Teacher Talk

Age-Appropriate Thinking Socially/Emotionally

1. If I like it, it’s MINE.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s MINE.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s MINE.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s MINE.
5. If it’s MINE, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are MINE.
7. If it looks like it’s mine, it’s MINE.
8. If I saw it first, it’s MINE.
9. If I can see it, it’s MINE.
10. If I think it’s mine, it’s MINE.
11. If I want it, it’s MINE.
12. If I “need it, it’s MINE (yes, I know the difference between “want” and “need”!).
13. If I say it’s mine, it’s MINE.
14. If you don’t stop me from playing with it, it’s MINE.
15. If you tell me I can play with it, it’s MINE.
16. If it will upset me too much when you take it away from me, it’s MINE.
17. If I (think I) can play with it better than you can, it’s MINE.
18. If I play with it long enough, it’s MINE.
19. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes MINE.
20. If it’s broken, it’s yours (no wait, all the pieces are MINE).

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July 17, 2014
by countryfun
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One Pool Noodle and (at least 2) Marbles = Science and Fun!

If you search pool noodles online you will find lots of creative ways to use this easy to find, low cost item with children. I have used for building blocks, ordering ABC’s and numbers, making obstacles courses, whack the beach ball…..

Using the marble raceway set recently reminded me of an idea I had seen where a large pool noodle was cut in half and used as a raceway.

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I just happen to have a few large noodles ready laying around and needing a new activity for another inside summer day I got it out. Pool noodles cut really easy with a serrated knife.

I cut completely through one side and then deeper so I was going part way into the opposite side. This allowed the pool noodle to open flat without separating into two pieces. (I taped for a bit more support as the noodle began to be bent in many directions)DSC05066

Then we just needed to add children, their creativity and marbles.

They found out they needed to capture the marbles and they needed a way to hold them at the top for an even start. I solved the start by cutting a slit across the noodle which would fit a jumbo craft stick.DSC05067 Perfect size for smaller fingers to handle – easy in and out.

IMG 1505 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

Many items have been used to capture the marbles as the children continue to explore the raceway.DSC05065

Where’s the science?

  • problem solving
  • discovering which size marble runs best and why
  • how curving the noodle affects run of the marbles
  • how angle (slope) of run affects speed
  • differences in number of marbles run together
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