COUNTRY FUN

~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

September 29, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on What Makes Green?

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.

DSC05529  DSC05530

What do you have?

DSC05533 DSC05532

Apple trees!

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

May 14, 2014
by countryfun
10 Comments

Travels with Charlie: MAINE Footprint Lobster #bookingusa

We so enjoyed being involved with Booking Across the USA (Trip 1) last year. It was fun to connect with others from across the other states. So many new books and fun activities to explore. So when Booking Across the USA Trip 2 was announced we jumped at the chance to participate again.  50 bloggers sharing activities related to their state with all ideas being inspired by a new series of books! What’s not to like about this?

We got our learning started with a new book: Travels with Charlie – Travelin’ the Northest by Miles Backer. Who says you have to start every book on the first page? Not me, so we started the reading with our own state of Maine and continued through the Northeast comparing these other states to ours. (Future Venn Diagram) This series and discussion opens up a way to develop an understanding of the USA in the preschoolers here.

My original idea was to combine reading this book with all the questions that have been raised as we prepare to head off to various schools for K next year. I figured we could start from the big picture – Earth, heading to USA, to Maine and then our homes in our towns. We are still doing that, but will be expanding into making personal books about Maine.

This simple activity takes coffee filters, markers (not sharpies), white art paper and water.

coffeefilterearth

  1. Color, scribble is best, onto the coffee filter with the markers. We viewed the earth as seen from space on our iPads to figure out the colors and what those colors represented. – Our choices were: blue, green and brown. the empty spaces would give us white.
  2. Place filter in middle of the white art paper (we used drawing paper, construction paper and copy paper all worked fine), start spraying with water. Really get the coffee filter wet. You will see the colors start to blend and parts of the filter will lift (do not push down). Leave everything in place until it dries.
  3. Once dry lift up filter, reposition on the paper and spray well again. Let dry. This can be done multiple times, but we only needed these 2 color areas.
  4. Using a clear circle shape place where you like the Earth image, trace around. Cut out saving remaining paper for the USA outline to come.

We have completed the earth and background for the USA outline, but the discussions have shifted our focus just now. The children want to know more about Maine.

maine

In answer to their interest I headed to the library in search of books about Maine. Little did I expect to have such a large and varied collection of titles to explore and chose from.

Needless to say the idea I had for the initial project has also evolved and will not be completed in time for the link up today (the 14th). I will definitely link up once done or you can check back here or on one of the other social media connections I use.

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Allowing the children to direct what books we explored next, they chose the Moose stories. DSC04510 (Never imagined I’d find a use for the jar of dried moose droppings we have sitting on a book shelf. It was fun to show the children, discussing size, shape and how we could see the fibers from the plants that moose eat.) However, it’s been the books about lobsters (Lobsterman by Dahlov Ipcar, open below) and islands that have engaged the children the most.  DSC04517 islands

I pulled together materials for a simple and fun activity I’ve done in the past – a footprint lobster.

PS- Live lobsters are brown. They turn red once cooked. The children chose to do red, not brown. That is the color used most in advertising here, so they think of lobsters as being red.

buildalobster

  1. copy paper (we’ll be cutting out), thin red paint and wipes
  2. paint bottom of one foot
  3. place carefully on one short edge of paper, pressing down firm. (Watch out that the toes are to the edge.)
  4. wipe foot clean
  5. paint palms of both hands
  6. position hands over heel area, finger together, thumb out, place and press down
  7. wash hands
  8. let dry
  9. cut out lobster

 

Chose background paper (we used 9″x12″ blues from the textured paper stash). Have book open to the page with clear example of the lobster’s body.

  1. lobstercut out rock shapes (more textured paper)
  2. glue down rocks then place and glue down lobster
  3. color arm section where claw attaches to body
  4. glue on eyes and antennas (cut into 2 pieces, does not stayed glued as well when folded)
  5. add 8 legs (“L” shape)
  6. lines for tail section
  7. label body parts

 

These will be added as a page to our Maine books.

 

January 10, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Have You Ever Wondered About Snowmen at Night?

Have You Ever Wondered About Snowmen at Night?

In exposing children to books so that their world expands it is important as part of that to help them understand the parts of a book.  Title pages, author, illustrator, beginning, middle and ending are all easy to develop an understanding of. In many of the picture books used for infants through preschool there are no “dust jackets”, especially with an introduction (found on the inside lap – I always thought of as the fly) or opening question to get you excited about what you will find once you start reading. So when I find one you can be sure I use it.

Our library copy of Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner had a great one and it was nice to be able to start this reading and extension project off from there.

“Have you ever wondered about the secret life of a snowman? Maybe one morning his grin is a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have drooped, and you’ve thought…. what do snowmen do at night?”

How much more fun to peak the interest in a story, than to just start right in reading? Some interesting answers to this opening.

As a follow up activity we took black paper – a little different for a snowman picture – and some unusual painting tools to make a snowy night time background for our snowman.

 

December 31, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Snow Dough to Noise Sticks……..Good Finish to 2013

Snow Dough to Noise Sticks……..Good Finish to 2013

It was just too cold outside today to get out but that just meant we got to have fun inside all day. The iPads got a good workout with most of the play being a new app: Sky Fish Phonics. Awareness of letter sounds are showing a strong improvement and I love the cooperative play I’m seeing.

This morning found us in the kitchen replenishing our homemade playdough supply. It was time for a new batch so made up what we are calling “snow dough”. Using my standard recipe: 1/2C salt, 1 C flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 2 TB oil, 1 C water. It all goes into a good size pan over med high heat and I stir until it’s like mashed potatoes. (You’ll know when it’s done, usually about 5 minutes for a single batch.) I empty the dough onto a silicone baking mat for kneading. I find it cools down quickly, so can work almost right away. Now is when I add any color, glitter, scents.

Our snow dough had glitter powder (DecoArt Glamour Dust – Crystal) and then regular silver glitter added to it. Not too much, just enough to act like the sparkling snow outside. This made the playdough non-edible, but we’re beyond that here now. For edible dough Wilton Pearl Dust would also work for the sparkle.

No color added, but a balsam essential oil was added. This group has really been enjoying the scented playdough this past year.

What a nice sensory experience – warm, soft playdough, balsam tree smell and glitter. It doesn’t get much better.

snowdough

To finish off the morning after lunch we made New Year’s Noise Sticks. These are a great activity for a mixed ages group. We had 2 to 11 year olds here today.

  • Start with paper towel tubes.
  • Staple off one end.
  • Fill with item for shaking.
  • Staple off remaining end.
  • Decorate.

Of course we got some extra learning in when we explored items that might make sound in a paper tube. We settled on dry kidney beans and dried corn kernels. These 2 items made very different sounds – beans were louder and harder/ corn was softer, more pingy ( I thought rain). We also discovered that the tubes sounded better when not filled all the way. The items needed space to move around, hitting off each other and the sides of the tube. The larger beans with the louder, thumpier sound used about 1/4C. The corn used 1/2C. The corn needed to rub by itself more for the sound it made. Added bonus of lots of descriptive words.

Decorating options were open to whatever had in the art space. Tissue paper with homemade mod podge was the choice. Loved seeing that creativity remained open. 2 year old was happy just painting the glue while I put down tissue pieces for her. The boys were all about just laying pieces down on top of each other (with I think great results). The older girls made sure their tubes were covered. Of course glitter was added while glue wet.

More embellishment meant ribbons and colored duck tape on the ends.

NoiseSticks

Each noise stick worked for it’s maker – just as an open project should.

 

July 17, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Catching Up

Catching Up

Well I’ve finally loaded the photos and videos from the past few weeks, so I’ll use this post to catch you up on some of what we’ve been doing and what I’ve seen.

Let’s start with the planting of the potatoes. We have never grown potatoes before so this is one hopefully successful experiment. It started by digging 2 trenches, laying in the seed potatoes and the covering that up.

Potaotes

Once these began to grow we filled in the trenches and banked the potato plants. Even little hands helped out.

We’ll do this a few more times and see how good a yield we get. I’ve heard digging potatoes is like hunting for buried treasure and these kids like treasure maps and hide ‘n seek.

Creative journals were made by a few. Recycling older blank dinosaur booklets with tissue papers and mod podge.

journal

Also got some painting in. This time it was exploring watercolors.

DSC03295 DSC03296

watercolors

Then there was the rose petal play dough we made following the recipe for fresh flowers play dough from Blog Me Mom. We used rose petals, lavender and sage flowers picked from the garden. We did a little smelling to figure out what flowers we wanted. The dough color choice was green for the leaves.

rose petal dough

June 18, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Summer Begins

Summer Begins

With a mixed ages program summer break does change up the dynamics, but that’s not new and I’m ready.

With a creative bunch of school age girls I made sure the art supply closet is ready to explore.

I have been gathering ideas for quick inspiration on Pinterest. When the girls are looking for ideas they browse the board, then gather supplies and off they go.

That’s how this morning started. What caught the eye were pipe cleaner people from Parents.pal

May 31, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Glitter Bug Puppets

Glitter Bug Puppets

Saw this idea posted at Red Ted Art  for cardboard tube minibeasts. Minibeasts doesn’t have much meaning to us, but the image showed a fun bug craft.

We have fun with puppets and finger plays and I knew this project would work out fine as a finger puppet to use at story time.

So our Glitter Bugs were born!

Painting the bodies and muscling the glue

This project took us 2 days as the glue was so well applied that it took longer than expected to dry.

I ended up helping more than expected, as it took two hands to push through the holes and 1 to hold in place. We also found that thinner pipe cleaners bent easily and didn’t push through the holes as easily. It didn’t matter. Everyone stayed involved and 6 Glitter Bugs went home with happy kids.

A copy of cute finger plays to use with the puppets:

There’s a Bug……. (Sing to: “Farmer in the Dell”)adapted by us

There’s a bug is on my toe,
There’s a bug is on my toe,
Hi-ho, just watch it go.
There’s a bug is on my toe.

Other verses: A bug is on my nose ,my head, my ear, my elbow, my knee,
etc..

———————–

Hunting Bugs (Original Author Unknown) Sing to: “A- Hunting we will go”

A-hunting we will go
A -hunting we will go
We’ll catch a (insert any insect here)
and put it in a box
(loudly) and then we’ll let it go!

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Bugs (Original Author Unknown) Sing to: “Frere Jacques”

Big bugs, small bugs,
Big bugs, small bugs,
See them crawl
On the wall?

Creepy, creepy, crawly,
Never, never falling.
Bugs, bugs, bugs,
Bugs, bugs, bugs.

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