COUNTRY FUN

~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

November 11, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Supporting STEM with PVC Pipe

Supporting STEM with PVC Pipe

I love having a good variety of items available to build with within our space. Blocks offer incredible opportunities for learning.

DSC07099Today I brought our pvc pipe connector set inside to have available for indoor play during the winter. Of course, as soon as brought in, interested hands began to explore. For the youngest it was about taking in and out of the container. For the school-age it was about building a fort. (Interesting how inside and outside usage is different.)

DSC07101My challenge was to get the school-age to work through it not being about building the fort quickly, but to think/plan/try and solve. That means encouragement, guidance and keeping busy enough to not be able to place my hands on directly. Those clues or guidance were heard and the materials were organized/sorted to make easier to use.

DSC07102Then the first side was used to model the second.

 

 

 

 

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Solved that one cross brace would not hold the fort up or the structure together.  Needed 2.

Then how to move into place?  DSC07104

 

 

After fell apart when tried to move alone, asked directly for help as realized 1 on each side working together would move it in one piece.

 

 

Covered DSC07105 and using.DSC07106 Shortly joined by others.

This pvc connector set was low cost, easy to make, and offers great learning opportunities only limited by imaginations. I used 1″ pipe for strength. If making a set like this I strongly suggest purchasing a ratcheting pvc pipe cutting tool (under$15).

November 4, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on It’s 60+ Out!

It’s 60+ Out!

We spend a good portion of our days outside, but when it’s November, blue skies and over 60 degrees, we are totally outside except for lunch and rest time.

Our outside play supports creativity, fine and gross motor skills, social interactions, math, science and language development.

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How Does It Work? from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

300+ crows flying over head will definitely get a WOW! An unexpected lesson on migration, listening for “caws”, labeling parts of a bird compared to ourselves, new words, and lots of movement flapping our wings as we flew around the yard 22162728764_bab836e197_o

IMG_0615 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.
Leaf play is daily occurrence around here in the Fall and some good exercise for the raker (me).

IMG_0641 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.
First time using the walking toy outside here.

IMG_0638 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

October 15, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Combining Our Movement Sticks and Books

Combining Our Movement Sticks and Books

With young children we know it is of benefit to have activities that will support them in getting their bodies moving and they need to be read to daily. There are a good number of books that have a movement component to them that allow for creative expansion activities.

Here are my go to books that have a movement component to them:

  • Wriggly Pig by Jon Blake
  • Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond
  • Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
  • Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
  • Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi

Activities can be as simple as acting out the characters’ movements to using something like our Movement Sticks. These also make a great 5-10 minute movement activity that helps break up more structured activities, works for transition time and just for the fun of doing.

The Movement Sticks are simple and low cost. Take colored jumbo craft sticks and glue movement idea strips to them.

You can pre-make or have the children provide the movement ideas and help to glue up the sticks. You could also write them out, but I’ve found printed out and glued, last longer. Ideas can also be added as favorite actions change with the group.

Following are the movement ideas from our sticks:

  • pretend hula hooping
  • walk backwards
  • jump backwards
  • frog jumps
  • wiggle worm
  • highest leap
  • helicopters
  • jump sideways
  • ants in your pants
  • walk sideways
  • twisting toe touch
  • hop one foot then other
  • silly walk
  • jumping jacks
  • tree in a stormy wind
  • giant steps
  • head, shoulders, knees, toes
  • jump in a circle
  • two foot jumps
  • pretend on balance beam
  • pretend to pedal a bike
  • egg rock and roll
  • side stretches
  • jack in the box
  • run in place
  • tree in a breeze
  • dance
  • pretend climbing stairs
  • leg swing right, then left
  • pretend bowling
  • hop like a rabbit
  • touch your toes

For a printable list click this link.

February 23, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Another Snow Problem

Another Snow Problem

It’s getting harder and harder to have all this snow (problem 1), yet it’s too cold (problem 2) day after day to spend much time outside playing in it. Winter kids want to play in the snow……….

Need to solve the “no playing in the snow” problem.

Solution: Bring inside in sensory tubs to play in digging, scooping, piling

Holding “COLD!”  Solution: wear mittens

Exploration beyond playing is the change in the snow as it warms in the room.

Finish the activity with construction of a poem using a poem building app.

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January 29, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on A Yarn Obstacle Course

A Yarn Obstacle Course

Bringing in new ideas and activities to switch up the play is always important. Involving the children adds to the learning experience. I love including STEAM activities as much as I can within the program.How about constructing a Spider Web Obstacle Course………..

Time to tie the room up ………….

Obstacle Web from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

January 13, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on Snaps of Our Days

Snaps of Our Days

A good part of my day is spent observing. This means I am watching and noting what individual children are doing, what groups of children are doing, how the space is working for the activities of current interest, what are those current interests…..just to start. I have found that having visual documentation of what I am seeing helps greatly in this. Many of the photos and video taken are posted separately for more detail about the activity or project.

But every now and then I like to just provide you with some of the snaps I’ve taken throughout the last few weeks………………..

Snow play means angels and shovels for toddlers and preschoolers…

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Playing Doctor…….learning how the tools work….

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Building forts……..DSC06074  DSC06076

Building towers…….

DSC06018 DSC06024  DSC06020  or exploring balance …..DSC06035

a visit from a hawk (to the feeders we watch daily)…..DSC06014

art & math – shape collage …DSC06033

math & science – shape graphing…DSC06048

sound exploration…DSC06007

body parts movement game (helping to get it made, so we can play)…DSC06064

lot’s of kitchen time…using tools, tasting, set-up and clean-up ….DSC06070

Little People are still of major interest…

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Fixing the climbing gym is a close second…

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Learning to watch out for and include the littlest one who is now totally mobile….

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December 19, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on December: Always an Interesting Time of Year

December: Always an Interesting Time of Year

Through all my years working with children, I have always found December to be an interesting month. It used to be we did Christmas stuff the whole month. With changes in society and respecting the traditions of each family, I believe I best support the children in my care now by keeping things simple and as un-holiday as possible. Keeping them grounded means healthier and happier children (and families). Here are an example of the activities we have been doing here and will continue through next week.

Special challenges this year have been:

  • 1) all the rainy/gray days and finding ways to get more movement into our space that already has a lot naturally in it.
  • 2) no real interest in any crafty projects so, I decided to focus on numbers which December just seems a really good fit for.

Let’s start with our version of a countdown (advent) calendar. Making use of some donated tubes, colorful pompom and dots. Lining up on the windows keeps them visible, adds color and we can talk about them often, not just when counting out for the day.

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Did you notice anything else about our count down tubes?

We have a pattern going with the dots. So we have 1 to 1 correspondence, number order, number symbol, a bit of addition and pattern – lots of math concepts being supported in this simple activity. I also like that it works with a traditional activity many of the children have in their families, but does not exclude anyone.

The idea of “over time” will also be explored with our use of the picture book: Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan. In the story Sadie builds a snowman with the first snow and rebuilds it over the winter months. We are doing the same. We built a snowman with our first good snow and have been watching it and the changes that the weather has brought. Lots of rain has meant melting. (Every day the children check and we’ll be posting images on our Facebook page as updates on the changes.)DSC05901We’ll save a bit before it’s completely gone to use in another snowman this season. The science concepts we are learning around changes to matter and seasons will be added to our work on the concept of time. Also thinking we’ll be experts at retelling Sadie and the Snowman by the end of winter:) (flannel board in the future)

So all the rain that’s melting our snowman is also keeping us inside. Now we are lucky to have a very active inside space, but not getting outside means even more need for focused/organized active play. Here a look at a few activities we’ve done these past weeks.


A little snowball blowing with the added benefit of working mouth/facial muscles.

Blow that Snowball from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

A little more painter’s tape and now we have a balancing activity……..or maybe just a space to run within, as this group is definitely not afraid of alligators:)

Balancing turns into Run from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

The other big change at this time of year is how it’s darker earlier. That means it’s easier to make a part of our space darker which works wonderful for light box play. Light box play is a great place for mixed ages to cooperate in their play – learning from each other, it’s low cost and exploration materials are only as limited as the children’s and yours imaginations.

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As anyone who follows here knows, I love homemade materials and adapt many of the resources shared online by other teachers. Klever Kiddos made these winter number puzzles available for free download on TpT.  All I had to do was download, print off, laminate, cut up and we were ready to add to the activity drawers. Placing a colored dot on the pieces for each puzzle was a simple adaption. Now I can store them all together and the children have to sort them out before making their puzzles.number puzzle

Photos are great but video is even better.

This FREE number activity from My Fabulous Class went through more adaption for use with my preschoolers. I kept the original stockings together, traced to make a blank stocking, ran that off on green paper, added the written number words and finger/hand images representing each number. This activity took a little longer to pull together, but having the children help with the images meant more opportunity to work with numbers. Also learned a bit about photo editing.DSC05820 Many ways to use…. here was reverse order than matching………..

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