COUNTRY FUN

~ 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 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…………

February 3, 2017
by countryfun
Comments Off on Butterflies in February!

Butterflies in February!

Having a good collection of materials that reflects common interests of young children means I can quickly gather items to be used to expand the creative play of the young children here.

As part of our kitchen gear, I have small plastic spice jars with lids that snap open/close or twist off. The twist is a bit too hard for the motor skills just yet and the snap open/close while a challenge is interesting for the children. Yesterday afternoon found the jars being played with as normal – open/close, open/close. Then there was a change……

…….”my butterfly flied away.”

I watched to see where this would lead wondering how I might encourage an expansion of the play. Another child asked where the butterfly was and an answer was provided. I asked what color it was. “Blue”. I then asked if they could see any other butterflies fluttering around the room? Immediately started to look around and jump up to catch them with the jars. The play keep building. I thought of the butterfly nets I have in storage (usually used in the summer – fall). I got them out and some interesting butterflies managed to be caught….. fork, wrench, stuffed turtle, book……. Parents began to pick-up, so play ended. I left the nets on the shelf wondering if might get used another day…….

Morning play found the nets in use, so I decided to expand the learning some more – What supplies were readily at hand?

Water color paints, coffee filters = circle, primary color and color blending to secondary colors,

divided bead storage containers and pipettes = fine motor and some science, counting, language

pipe cleaners and jumbo craft sticks = Butterfly Stick Puppets

We have reached an age where developing skills and interest is allowing for some fun creative projects, so I asked if they wanted to make butterflies this morning. “YES!!!”

Aprons on, materials ready,  demonstration of pipette done, so it’s time to explore………

Two coffee filters wasn’t enough for “B”, so some scrap paper to use up the rest of the paint. All about the mixing colors now.

Off to play while drying. Once dried comes the harder part, definitely needing more adult hands-on.

  1. Gather (“smash”) the coffee filter so it makes a long, not ball shape.
  2. “Kiss” the 2 ends of a pipe cleaner and “smash” together so you bend it in half.
  3. Place the gathered coffee filter into the folded pipe cleaner. Twist it about halfway up.
  4. Now open up the filter – “It makes wings!”  (I did not show a finished product, so here was the first true view of their butterfly.)
  5. Bend ends of pipe cleaners for the antenna. You’re done. Or not………

I thought the children would have more fun if the butterflies were made into stick puppets. (Also thought they might last a bit longer.)

Hot glue on one end of the craft stick,  turn it over and push it down onto the pipe cleaner = a butterfly puppet.

Butterflies in Feburary from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

July 9, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Can We Paint?

Can We Paint?

Part of the fun of having my school-age children for the full day in the summer is their desire for doing art projects. The challenge for me is to continue to find ways to teach techniques, expanding learning while considering current interests.

This activity met the requirements of wanting to paint and wanting something finished to take home. I wanted to reinforce the importance of not over painting until it was a mud color/ or knowing when to stop. We have been having lots of play involving rainbow colors and patterns. For storytime I’ve been reading Eric Carle books. Putting this all together and pulling from my Pinterest boards I pulled together the materials for spinning chameleons. I was inspired by a colorful chameleons project on Tippytoe Crafts.

2016_06_27_img_0231_28010489992_oWe started with finding a coloring page that provided the size and position the children wanted for their chameleons.

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I traced the page from Hedgie’s Desk and made a stencil for our spinner cut-out while the children got started painting paper plates using tempera paints.

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I couldn’t waste all the tempera paint spread over the paint tray, so I showed them how to do a print by placing paper down on the tray. I them went for a lesson on symmetry by folding that paper in half, pressing and opening. 2016_06_27_img_0240_27832351880_oDid this twice rotating 180 degrees between each print/fold and press. We’ll use this texture paper later for another project.  

Once the back plate was painted the children chose to switch to watercolor for the top plate. 2016_06_27_img_0234_28035291981_oThey all went with blue for a sky look. Some will add a construction paper branch for the chameleon to be climbing along.  2016_06_27_img_0238_27498158304_o2016_06_27_img_0239_28078934946_o 2016_06_27_img_0241_28010318802_o

I loved how they used every paint brush from the brush box. 🙂    2016_06_27_img_0237_27832412740_o

To finish we traced the chameleon shape onto the top plate, cut it out (remember to place an eye) and glued the branch into place. We used a colored googly eye. Notice the branch helped with providing a tail for our chameleon. Last was push the brad through and we had our finished spinning chameleon.

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The children enjoyed the changing chameleon that occurred as the top plate was spun.

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(For those wondering about the punched holes. We recycled some left-over plates from a prior project. The holes didn’t affect this project.)

 

January 6, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on Oh, Elmer’s Special Day!

Oh, Elmer’s Special Day!

We have our hands on books all day long here.

We also like retelling using our flannel board.

Then we have our interactive ebooks both borrowed and owned.

A favorite ebook that always loaded on the iPad is Elmer’s Special Day by Oceanhouse Media. (I have found Oceanhouse Media is a great first source for interactive book apps.).

With 2 children here today that love to paint it was no surprise child directed learning lead to a painting activity. This one came about after enjoying the interactive Elmer’s Special Day book app multiple times. Elmer’s Special Day allows for a variety of extension activities about color, being unique, and friendship just to start.

You can use one of the available patterns online (find some on my Elmer’s Pinterest board), but I just drew out the simple Elmer elephant shape to fit the larger paper we were using. With small paint pots of multiple colors and cotton swabs gathered, the children provided the fine motor and creative imagination needed for this activity.

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They asked for the elephants to be cut out to take home. Which I did as cutting skills are still about learning to work the scissors right now.

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