~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

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.


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.


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


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,


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!


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.

May 10, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on All about “Love”

All about “Love”

Mother’s Day is this weekend and if you are online or watching TV you are seeing ideas for special gifts for Moms. In child cares across the USA children are doing special projects for their Moms.

The Problem

In general I have a problem with doing special celebration projects directed at a specific individual with a group of children. Being a child who lost their father at a very young age and having to do Father’s Day projects in school with no Father to give them to I have a long standing bias on this. With all the changes we are seeing across our society to family structures this bias has been reinforced.

There have been years when I have done individual specific projects. There may have been a request by a child, or the make-up of the group was homogeneous, but usually the projects follow the direction of this one.

Solution …..    

My solution is to do projects that are not specific to individuals, but about a feeling.

This time we talked about “Love”. I offered a choice of words I could tape off for the children. As you will see some choose “MOM” most choose “LOVE”.

Everyone was involved, happy with what they accomplished and proud to give to someone(s) special to them.


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