~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

March 5, 2018
by countryfun
Comments Off on Time to Make a Fun Counting Book……

Time to Make a Fun Counting Book……

A fun counting book is Dr. Seuss’ Ten Apples Up on Top. Besides counting the book opens up discussion on prepositional words, number symbols, being “better” and positive feelings with succeeding at something, especially together.

Today we enjoyed a YouTube reading that has the book put to music. Then we followed up by making our own Apples on Top Books. Depending on our counting skills the books ranged from counting

1 to 5 to counting 1 to 10.

These are simple books to make. I used a free template from Early Learning Ideas to save time. I edited a photo of each child, copying off enough for each page of their book. The children glued a picture on the “bottom” of each page.

Once that was complete it was time to add the correct number of apples “on top”. Given choices for making an apple shape (circle) the children all chose the bingo dot marker.

Once done and dried we laminated each page and then ordered the pages. Developmental levels of each child were considered in how we ordered the pages – counting the apples, using number symbol, reading each page as ordered.

December 14, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on My, Myself and I

My, Myself and I

The Holiday Season is upon us. Unlike many program, I try not to focus on Santa at this time of year. Over my 40 years in education, I have explored many lessons during this season from world traditions to the life of reindeer.  One of my favorite lesson focuses during this holiday season is to look at our individuality. This year we are going for Me, Myself and I: Looking at how we are the same and different from each other physically and emotionally.

Our first lesson is taking advantage of a big interest in painting this group has. I’ve adapted a lesson from Hands and Hearts that allowed us to continue to work with our colors, fine motor, following directions and learning a bit about artist Andy Warhol. More importantly we can begin to compare the differences between something we all have in common – our hands.

I offered a variety of painting tools to explore, our 3 primary paint colors and then a yellow/blue mix.  Because I had poured out the colors earlier they had time to stand together and we were able to see the change occurring where they touched. Then even clearer as we mixed…..

The first step in building this project was to fully paint 4 precut pieces of paper – one color each. I placed initials on the back of the paper before painting, so there is no mix-up once dry.

This split tray works great for containing good amounts of different colors. I especially like that it’s easy to cover up sections before I want the children to have access to them. 

Explored how paint works using regular chunky brushes, homemade sponge/clothespin brush and stamping sponges. One even decided to try her hands.


They did really good painting the whole paper and not just painting over and over and over in the same place.

So where does the Andy Warhol come into play?

We will use these 4 painted papers to make equal sized rectangles that will be glued onto another sheet of paper for our Warhol background. We will then add the common/familiar item into each rectangle.


December 12, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Adapting a Tree Activity

Adapting a Tree Activity

For multiple reasons, I do not go all Santa for activities in Dec. A main reason is not everyone I’ve had in care over the years celebrated Santa. So in years past, I started looking for alternative lesson options. There are many out there. With this current group where abilities and developmental levels are very diverse, I figured that my evergreen tree lessons would work well. All families here this year have Christmas trees, so that also ties in well.

Evergreens are present in our yard, so it’s easy to get natural lessons in from a point of reference. You’ll see posts of some of our activities on Facebook, or specific to each child in their Seesaw portfolios. I’ve chosen to post on this activity here, because I wanted to explain how I adapt one lesson to meet a range of needs.

This lesson started with a large square sheet of paper that I purposely cut to make a large solid triangle. With a square find the mid-point on one side. Cut from that point to a corner on the opposite side. Cut from the mid-point to the other opposite corner.

You can fold, trace a line or I use my paper cutter.

The 2 cut off sections when glued together also make a large triangle.

It’s appropriate for the preschool age here to be working on scissor and tracing skills. Using the largest triangle and a wide ruler they can trace straight lines across the triangle. The initial direction was given about how to trace the lines and then to cut as close to the lines as possible. They will follow these lines for cutting practice.

While doing that the toddler was busy gluing the back of the 2 cut sections. I glued them in place. Then I provided a sheet of colorful dots (circles) for working fine motor and eye-hand coordination. We also had some crossing the midline because of working on the floor and reaching over to place the dots.

Once the oldest completed cutting along the lines, it was time to step into the next part of the lesson – size sequencing. Directions: lay out the cut sections largest to smallest. Once that was done the gluing began. Glue the pieces onto a larger sheet of paper to reform the triangle. Some children have to glue up tight, others will leave space. Here you can see the cut lines because a bit of space was left between each section.  Also got the colored dots.

When the intended lesson was done, as the interest was still present, I provided some additional star stickers. Always looking for ways to extend an activity as directed by the children.

All working in the same space with the same basic supplies. Each ended up with a decorated triangle tree that worked skills appropriate to their developmental level and needs.



November 16, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Running and Music

Running and Music

Over the years it seems I keep having groups of children that love to run to special songs on favorite soundtracks. No matter what they were/are in the middle of doing when the song comes on the running starts. Since we play music throughout the day, there are many chances to run! The running also is always around our inside climbing gym, no matter the physical changes to the space.

The past was from the Cars movie soundtrack. This was a favorite for years…………..

The current is from Moana, a newer Disney movie.

Thankfully both soundtracks have good music with lots of variety, so listening to over and over day in and out is ok 🙂




November 7, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on A New Painting Tool

A New Painting Tool

It’s fun to paint with lots of different tools. It opens up the creative process for young children. One of my favorite painting tools is recycled oatmeal containers. Today, these came out for the first time with my current group of young learners.

Oatmeal containers are the perfect size to fit a regular 8×12 paper, with a large enough opening to be able to easily add items of different shapes and sizes of items to paint with. They are also the perfect size for young children to handle – shaking, rolling, or tipping.

Today’s creative activity started with the primary colors: red and yellow. I asked what color we would get when we mixed them together – not comfortable or immediate knowledge for everyone. As I began to mix however, the answer came strongly – “Orange.” We have a pretty good handle on colors, but not how the primary colors combine to form other colors – that’s where the lesson comes in.

We used our recycled salad servers for handling the movement of our collection of acorns from our orange paint to the oatmeal container. Great for fine motor, eye-hand coordination, and problem solving. This group also saw a good bit of crossing the midline the way they were using the tools. Then it was time to get the covers on and make their container move.

It was discovered that by adding more acorns at a time the paper had a lot more paint on it.

Now our paintings could go home as is, but thinking it will be more fun to use as a background for another creative project…………

October 12, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Beans Stalks in Our Future?

Beans Stalks in Our Future?

Last week I posted a picture of an experiment we set up to see if some bean seeds would grow. Well, we’ve been watching and they have grown.

It was time to take the experiment apart, examine results and expand our learning:


  • How the outer shell splits and comes off the bean;
  • Where roots begin to sprout from;
  • How a shoot begins to grow;
  • How you can see the green bean split and leaves start;
  • How the green beans wrinkles (dries up) as the leaves grow;
  • How the roots spread out;
  • How all look alike!

Then we got to plant the beans to see if we can grow some bean stalks. 

Another chance to observe over time………….. Who says gardening is only for the Spring 🙂

October 6, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Fall Lessons continue……..

Fall Lessons continue……..

We’ve worked in Apples and Pumpkins through daily activities, stories, snacks and lunches, exploration boxes and just general conversations. Most of the interest is currently on seeds.

Tied seeds and apple work together to make a book that compressed the life cycle of an apple. Our life cycle was seed – blossom – fruit – harvest. This group has an understanding that plants grow from seeds planted in the ground. That plants need water and sunlight to grow. That the food grows from a flower. That the food has more seeds inside it and these will grow into the food they came from if planted.

To make the book we colored a large sheet of drawing paper using the colors of apples we had to explore.


This sheet was then folded to make our book. The children glued the pre-cut images into their books. I added words with our discussion on the images and apple cycle.

   Of course the books headed home.

Then our seeds exploration headed outside to gather different seeds. The Fall is actually a great time for this because it’s when plants and trees are loaded with seeds.

We brought the seeds inside to explore further. We had seeds from weeds, grasses, trees, herbs and a couple of the beans for drying that were not dry yet.

First we took the beans out of their pods and set up a growing experiment: glass jar, paper towels, water and beans. We’ll be checking to see if the beans sprout on the south facing windowsill.  

The rest of the seed heads were handled, checked with magnifying glasses, shaken in small tubes, smelled, hammered, blown …………..


Still checking maple pods to see if they contain seeds while outside at play. More acorns keep finding their way inside also.


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