COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

October 24, 2014
by countryfun
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Oh, Paper Bag Masks – Simple and Fun!

Sometimes the simple, old ideas are the best. I have tons of ideas/directions for fancy masks and Halloween projects, but today the old stand-by was the right choice.

Paper Bag Masks

I always make sure I get at least one load of groceries in paper bags each season. They have so many uses. Today I pulled a few to turn inside out and make available for turning into Halloween masks for the creative play party that suddenly occurred.DSC05645  DSC05648DSC05653

Of course, one didn’t want a mask, but wanted a butterfly costume. Paper bag still works just cut open flat and fold in half. Draw on wing outline to be colored in. DSC05647DSC05649

Trim excess bag off, staple outline adding a little newspaper stuffing. Wings set now so can be worn cut 2 lengths of yarn thread through 4 holes to make simple arm straps.DSC05651DSC05652

Then it’s time to cut out the eyes. Shoulder cut-outs let the mask sit well on the head.

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Creative half hour with markers and crayons leads to a morning playing trick-or-treat with mask, costumes and Halloween music.

October 20, 2014
by countryfun
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One Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Game

“R” has a strong knowledge of all her letters, so that just means I need to keep coming up with creative ways to review with her. Being the only preschooler I have at this time means we often have an audience as we do a project and that’s ok as it supports their learning.

Today I used a favorite book – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – to pull together a game that will have many ways to use.

All you need is an oatmeal container, brown and green construction paper, scissors, marker, glue and letters. I have a large collection of magnetic letters that we pulled from for this project.

This project changed from my plan, but the original purpose remained – reviewing letters.

I figured “R” would pull a letter, name it and I’d write it on the tree base. Nope! “R” wanted to do it herself and since we are currently beginning working on letter formation had to come up with another option, so frustration would not take over. She asked for stickers. Good idea as I have learned to always have a supply of letter stickers on hand.

Then “R” decided had to be in order (alphabetical order) just like the book.

I had pictured random letters all over the container. “R” pictured them in order placed along the top edge. What matters is the lesson purpose and giving value to her voice in her learning. Doing her way brought other skills into the original lesson.

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The project turned out great and we’ve played multiple times, as it hasn’t made it’s way home yet.

October 9, 2014
by countryfun
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Uppercase Lowercase ABC’s

The booklet we made today was a free printable from Kroger’s Kindergarten which I originally found on Pinterest. It’s pinned in my General Fall theme board.

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The booklet was a super hit, which found us reading it in many different ways. We ended with “R” reading the letters and me coming up with words that worked for the letters like: “noisy nuts, angry alligator”.

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
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